Association of Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis and Cataract Development and Surgery

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Abstract

Importance

There is a paucity of data addressing the risk of cataract development in pediatric patients with atopic dermatitis (AD).

Objective

To investigate the association of AD with subsequent cataract development and cataract surgery in a Korean pediatric population.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This population-based retrospective longitudinal cohort study used nationally representative data from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database from 2002 to 2013. Incident AD cases, consisting of patients younger than 20 years with AD and severe AD and were matched to 4 controls each using propensity score derived from age, sex, residential area, and household income.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Incidence probabilities of cataract development and cataract surgery between the AD group and controls were compared using Kaplan-Meier methods and log-rank tests. Cox proportional hazard models were fitted for cataract and cataract surgery to determine the risk factors in the matched cohort.

Results

Of 34 375 patients with incident AD (16 159 girls [47%]; mean [SD] age, 3.47 [4.96] years), there were 3734 severe AD cases (10.9%) with 137 500 matched controls. Development of cataracts was not different between the AD and control groups, (0.216% vs 0.227%; 95% CI, −0.041% to 0.063%; P = .32) or between the severe AD cohort and their controls (0.520% vs 0.276%; 95% CI, −0.073% to 0.561%; P = .06). Cataract surgery was performed more frequently in the AD cohort than in the control group (0.075% vs 0.041%; 95% CI, 0.017%-0.050%; P = .02) and in the severe AD cohort compared with their controls (0.221% vs 0.070%; 95% CI, 0.021%-0.279%; P = .03). Severe AD was associated with both development of cataract (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.06-3.58, P = .03) and requirement for cataract surgery (adjusted hazard ratio, 5.48; 95% CI, 1.90-15.79, P = .002).

Conclusions and Relevance

Absolute risk of cataract was rare, with or without AD, even after 10 years of observation. However, our results suggest that pediatric patients with AD have an increased risk for cataracts requiring surgery and that disease severity may increase the risk for cataract development and cataract surgery.

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