Certain systemic drugs—ACE and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, fibrates and insulin—may increase the risk of developing cortical cataracts, a study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology reports. The investigation also found the association was independent of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes.

Researchers enrolled 8,965 participants from the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Disease Study that included Chinese, Malay and Indian residents aged 40 and older.

The investigation considered age, gender, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking, socioeconomic status and patient health conditions such as hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes (including its duration) and cardiovascular disease.

“Further adjusting for concurrent medication use did not alter these associations. Consistently, the four medications were also associated with a greater severity level of cortical cataract,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

Additional studies are needed to further confirm the risk these drugs pose in the development of cortical cataracts, the researchers suggested.

Dai W, Tham YC, Chee ML, et al. Systemic medications and cortical cataract: the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases Study. Br J Ophthalmol. July 4, 2019 [Epub, ahead of print].