University Of British ColumbiaA cataract is said to be a clouding that may occur in the crystalline lens of the eye or in its envelope, fluctuating in degree from mild to total opacity and blocking the passage of light. People who consume anti – depressants need to be extremely careful since a few anti – depressant drugs may be linked to an augmented possibility of developing cataracts. At least this is what a study from University of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and McGill University claims.

The study, based on a record of over 200,000 Quebec residents aged 65 and more, seemed to exhibit statistical relations between an identification of cataracts or cataract surgery and the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), plus between cataracts and particular drugs in that class. The study apparently does not prove causation but just appears to divulge a link between the use of SSRIs and the development of cataracts.

The study could not account for the possibility of smoking which is said to be a threat issue for cataracts. Moreover, supplementary population-based studies are said to be required to corroborate these discoveries. This study of statistical relationships is claimed to be the first to determine a connection between this class of drugs and cataracts in humans. Preceding studies in animal models had apparently illustrated that SSRIs may augment the probability of developing the condition.

“When you look at the trade-offs of these drugs, the benefits of treating depression – which can be life-threatening – still outweigh the risk of developing cataracts, which are treatable and relatively benign,” commented, Dr. Mahyar Etminan, lead author of the article, a scientist and clinical pharmacist at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology at Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and an assistant professor in the Dept. of Medicine at UBC.

Scientists discovered that patients consuming SSRIs were said to have by and large 15 per cent more chances to be detected with cataracts or to have cataract surgery. The extent of threat among particular and diverse kinds of SSRIs seemed to fluctuate noticeably. Apparently, consuming fluvoxamine (Luvox) appeared to result in a 51 per cent elevated possibility of having cataract surgery, and venlafaxine (Effexor) apparently had 34 per cent more risk. But, no association could be made between fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and sertraline (Zoloft) and experiencing cataract surgery in the future.

Co-author Dr. Frederick S. Mikelberg, professor and head of the Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UBC and head of the Dept. of Ophthalmology at Vancouver General Hospital observes that the standard time to develop cataracts while consuming SSRIs was nearly two years.

Mikelberg mentioned that while these results are surprising, and might inform the choices of psychiatrists when prescribing SSRIs for their patients, they should not be cause for alarm among people taking these medications.

The study was published online in the journal Ophthalmology.