Postmenopausal Women at Risk for Cataracts?

NHIOnDemand, a health and wellness trade site, recently posted an article citing a study published in the journal Ophthalmology claiming that postmenopausal woman are at risk for cataracts after HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy. The study said it determined the risk of cataract removal was increased by 14 percent in women who had ever used HRT and by 18 percent in current HRT users, compared with women who never used HRT. Current HRT users who reported having more than one alcoholic drink per day had a 42 percent increased risk compared with women who used neither HRT nor alcohol.

This certainly sounds alarming, but when you dig deeper there are two important points to note about the women who experienced a higher incidence of cataracts following HRT therapy.

The first point is that the women in the study were taking synthetic hormones, such as progestin, and not bioidentical hormones. My book, Hormone Harmony, discusses the difference between synthetic and bioidentical hormones at length, and specifically addresses some of the dangers associated with progestin.

The second point relates to alcohol consumption.  Daily alcohol consumption has long been recognized as a contributing factor in a woman’s increased risk of developing cataracts.  The correlation between alcohol and HRT in this report does not result in a smoking gun in my opinion, since the alcohol is a major cataract contributor on its own.  However, women of all ages who wish to maintain optimal health should limit alcohol consumption to no more than 2 – 3 drinks per week.