Antidepressant linked to cataracts

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 2 (UPI) -- Seniors who take a type of antidepressants may have increased risk of developing cataracts, a researcher in Canada suggests.

The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, finds selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants appears to increase cataract risk by about 15 percent.


Mahyar Etminan of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute assessed data for about 19,000 people age 65 or older, all with cardiovascular disease and compared it to about 190,000 controls.

The study says Luvox, or fluvoxamine, increased cataract risk by 39 percent, Effexor, or venlafaxine, by 33 percent and Paxil, or paroxetine, by 23 percent.

"The eye's lens has serotonin receptors, and animal studies have shown that excess serotonin can make the lens opaque and lead to cataract formation," Etminan said in a statement.

However, some antidepressants did not appear to be associated with cataract risk. This could be due to sample size or specific agents in some medications and these questions need further study, Etminan says.

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