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Associations between cataract and multimorbidity: a cross-sectional study of 23,089 adults from Spain



Little is known about the association between cataract and multimorbidity. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between cataract and chronic conditions and multimorbidity in a large representative sample of Spanish adults.


This study used data from the Spanish National Health Survey 2017, a cross-sectional sample of 23,089 adults aged ≥15 years from Spain [54.1% female; mean (standard deviation) age 53.4 (18.9) years]. Cataract and 30 other physical and mental chronic conditions were self-reported. Multimorbidity was defined as the presence of at least two physical and/or mental chronic conditions (excluding cataract). Control variables included sex, age, marital status, education, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Multivariable logistic and negative binomial regression analyzes were conducted to assess associations.


The prevalence of cataract and multimorbidity was 12.5% and 56.5%, respectively. All chronic conditions were significantly more frequent in individuals with than in those without cataract. Overall, there was a positive relationship between cataract and multimorbidity [odds ratio (OR) = 2.77; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.39–3.21]. In addition, cataract was significantly associated with the number of chronic conditions in the whole population [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 1.34; 95% CI: 1.29–1.38].


Cataract is positively associated with chronic conditions and multimorbidity in adults. Interventions specifically designed for those with cataract to reduce or manage co-occurring chronic conditions and multimorbidity are urgently required.

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GFL-S is funded by the Seneca Foundation—Agency for Science and Technology of the Region of Murcia, Spain (20390/PD/17). AK’s work is supported by the PI15/00862 project, integrated into the National R + D + I and funded by the ISCIII—General Branch Evaluation and Promotion of Health Research—and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF-FEDER). These funders had no role in the study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; writing of the report; and the decision to submit the article for publication.

Author information




LJ contributed to the design of the study, managed the literature searches, undertook the statistical analysis, and contributed to the correction of the paper. GFL-S contributed to the design of the study, managed the literature searches, wrote the first draft of the paper, and contributed to the correction of the paper. LY, JMH, JIlS, NV, PS, TG, and AK contributed to the design of the study and the correction of the paper. LS contributed to the design of the study, managed the literature searches, wrote the first draft of the paper, and contributed to the correction of the paper. All authors contributed to and have approved the final paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Guillermo F. López-Sánchez.

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Jacob, L., López-Sánchez, G.F., Yang, L. et al. Associations between cataract and multimorbidity: a cross-sectional study of 23,089 adults from Spain. Eye 35, 791–798 (2021).

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