Iris color and age-related changes in lens optical density

Billy R. Hammond, Jose Nanez, Christine Fair, D. Max Snodderly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: Epidemiologic evidence indicates that dark iris color increases risk of age-related cataract. No information is currently available, however, on the effects of iris color on the lens prior to cataract development. In this study, we relate iris color to lens optical density (OD) in individuals without frank cataract.Methods: 90 subjects with blue or green irises (light color) were compared with 87 subjects having hazel, brown, or black irises (dark color). Lens OD was measured psychophysically by comparing scotopic thresholds obtained at 410 (measuring) and 550nm (reference). Stimuli were presented in Maxwellian view.Results: The groups with light and with dark iris color did not differ significantly in smoking habits, dietary patterns, or age. Despite other similarities between the groups, lens OD was significantly (p<0.024) higher in the group with dark irises. The higher OD of the dark iris group was due to differences in the older subjects (>45years, p<0.005), rather than the younger subjects (20-45years) who showed no differences in lens OD.Conclusion: Our data indicate that iris pigmentation may be directly related to age-associated increases in lens OD. Copyright (C) 2000 The College of Optometrists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-386
Number of pages6
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Optometry
  • Sensory Systems


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