Do you have cataracts? Did you ever take interferon? Hmmmm!!!

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with increased systemic oxidative stress, which leads to cardiovascular events, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Similarly, cataract is also associated with increased oxidative stress. The association between HCV infection and increased risk of cataract remains unclear.

In this study, we observed a positive association between pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy for HCV infection and risk of cataract. Our data showed that HCV patients receiving interferon alpha-only regimen had 1.29-fold higher risk of cataract, interferon alpha-ribavirin regimen had 1.83-fold higher risk of cataract, compared with non-HCV patients. Thus, the regimen combining Interferon alpha and ribavirin would have addictive and synergistic effects on the risk of developing cataract.

HCV patients who had diabetes had the highest risk of cataracts, compared to those with or without HCV or diabetes.

The authors concluded that “HCV infection, even without the complication of cirrhosis, is associated with an increased risk of cataract, and this risk is higher in HCV-infected patients undergoing interferon–ribavirin therapy.”

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