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Hormone Replacement Therapy in Women linked to cataracts

Women who are using or who had used Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) have higher rates of cataract removal than women who have never used HRT. This was the finding of an eight-year study of more than 30,000 postmenopausal Swedish women. Results of the study showed that the risk for cataract removal was increased by 14 percent in women who had previously used HRT and an 18 percent increase was noted in current HRT users as compared to women who did not use HRT. The longer HRT was used resulted in an increased risk. In addition, women using HRT who consumed more than one alcoholic drink a day had a 42 percent increased risk compared to women who did not use HRT or drank alcohol. Cataracts are more common in postmenopausal women than in men which indicates that hormonal differences play a role in their development. Estrogen receptors have been found in the eye's lens. The lens is the area that becomes cloudy and inflexible upon formation of a cataract. The exogenous estrogens which are used in HRT increase C-reactive protein levels which have been linked with cataract development.*   Elise Ervin Staff Writer

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