Electrical injury and the long-term risk of cataract: A prospective matched cohort study

Anette Kærgaard, Kent J. Nielsen, Ole Carstensen, Karin Biering*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


Purpose: Over the years, many cases of electric cataract related to severe electrical injuries have been reported. Most have been cases where the entrance or exit point of the current was on the skull or near the eyes. Still, cases of cataract have been reported where an electric current has passed through the body between two contact points remote from the eyes. This study investigates whether persons exposed to an electric current develop cataracts in the subsequent years. Methods: We identified 14 112 persons who had received electrical injuries in two Danish registries. We matched these with patients partly with dislocation/sprain injuries and partly with persons from the workforce from the same occupation using year of accident, sex and age as matching variables in a prospective, matched-cohort design. We identified cataract as outcome (DH25, DH26 and DH28) in the Danish National Patient Registry. The associations were analysed using conditional Cox and logistic regression. Results: We did not identify an increased risk of cataract following electrical injury compared to matched controls. Conclusion: A review of the literature clearly substantiates the occurrence of electric cataract as a consequence of electric current coming in contact with a point on the skull or near the eye. However, our results indicate that electric cataract is not a delayed-onset effect of electrical injury, in general, and do not suggest a need for cataract screening in all cases of electrical injury.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Pages (from-to)e88-e94
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • cataract
  • cohort study
  • electric cataract
  • electric shock
  • electrical injuries


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