Cigarette Smoking and Pterygium: A Propensity Score Matching Analysis

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Abstract

Purpose

To assess the association between smoking and pterygium among elderly adults by applying a propensity score matching (PSM) approach and to examine a potential dose-response relationship.

Methods

The study was designed as a community-based cross-sectional study based on a Chinese cohort aged 60 years or older in China. Anterior segment examination was performed without pupil dilation using a slitlamp. Pterygium was defined as a raised fleshy triangular fibrovascular tissue growth of the conjunctiva encroaching onto the clear cornea. Information regarding smoking history was collected via a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. The propensity scores for myopia were formulated using seven potential confounders. We matched the propensity scores for smokers and nonsmokers within a caliper of 0.01 of logit function of propensity scores.

Results

Slitlamp examination was successfully performed in 4567 adults. The odds ratio of pterygium for cigarette smoking before matching was 0.65 (95% confidence interval, 0.56 to 0.75; p < 0.001). There were significant covariate imbalances between comparison groups, and after PSM, covariate imbalances were significantly reduced. After PSM, the magnitude of association was slightly reduced (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.55 to 0.89; p = 0.004). Adults with more daily cigarette consumption were less likely to be affected by pterygium in multivariate analysis (p for trend = 0.02).

Conclusions

Smokers were less likely to be affected by pterygium. The PSM approach may be a useful method to address selection bias in observational studies when randomized trials cannot ethically be conducted.

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