Female reproductive factors and eye disease in a rural south Indian population: The Aravind Comprehensive Eye Survey

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science








PURPOSE. To determine the potential associations of female reproductive factors with age-related cataract, open-angle glaucoma, macular degeneration, and myopia in an older population of rural south India. METHODS. This was a population-based, cross-sectional study of older adults in rural south India identified through a cluster sampling technique. Histories relating to female reproductive factors were ascertained through a questionnaire administered by trained workers. Detailed ocular examinations including automated perimetry were performed on all participants at a base hospital to arrive at a diagnosis of ocular morbidity. RESULTS. The study achieved a high response rate (93.0%), with examinations performed on 5150 of the eligible 5539 persons aged 40 years or more. Age at menarche was available for 2797 (98.6%) of the women and age at natural menopause for 1841 (98.0%) of 1878 women who were postmenopausal. The mean age at menarche was 14.8 ± 1.8 years, and the mean age at menopause was 43.4 ± 3-9 years. The mean duration of endogenous estrogen exposure was 28.4 ± 4.3 years. The median number of pregnancies was 4 (mean, 4.3 ± 2.6; range, 0-16). Older age at menarche (≥14 years) was associated with reduced risk for age-related cataract and myopia, and greater risk for macular degeneration. Neither age at menopause nor duration of endogenous estrogen exposure was associated with any of the ocular diseases studied. Parity was not associated with any of the ocular diseases studied in a multivariate model. CONCLUSIONS. Female reproductive factors do not appear to influence age-related cataract, open-angle glaucoma, macular degeneration or myopia significantly in rural south India.