Epidemiological studies suggest that antidepressants use may increase the risk of cataract, but the results are inconclusive. We aimed to examine this association by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Relevant studies were identified by searching PubMed and Web of Science databases through June 2017. We included studies that reported risk estimates for the association between antidepressants use and cataract risk. A random-effects model was used to calculate the summary odds ratio (OR) with its 95% confidence interval (CI).
We identified seven studies of antidepressants use and risk of cataract involving 447,672 cases and 1,510,391 controls. Overall, the combined ORs (95% CIs) of cataract for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) were 1.12 (1.06–1.19), 1.13 (1.04–1.24), and 1.19 (1.11–1.28), respectively. A certain degree of heterogeneity was observed across studies (P < 0.001, I2 = 92.2% for SSRIs, P = 0.026, I2 = 67.5% for SNRIs, and P = 0.092, I2 = 58.0% for TCAs).
This meta-analysis provides evidence of a significant positive association between antidepressants use and risk of cataract. Because of the heterogeneity and limited eligible studies, further prospective studies are warranted to confirm the preliminary findings of our study.