Baseline ophthalmic findings in the Vitamin E, Cataract and Age-Related Maculopathy (VECAT) study

L. D. Robman, G. Tikellis, S. K M Garrett, C. A. Harper, J. J. McNeil, H. R. Taylor, C. A. McCarty

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Purpose: To describe the methodology of eye examination and the baseline eye characteristics of the Vitamin E, Cataract and Age-Related Maculopathy (VECAT) study participants. Methods: A sample of volunteers from an urban area of Melbourne, Australia, were recruited to participate in a randomized, controlled trial investigating the effect of vitamin E on the development of cataract and age-related maculopathy. Standardized eye examinations involved clinical assessment, which included Wilmer grading of the lens, digital photography of the lens with Nidek EAS-1000 lens camera and stereo photography of the macular area with the Nidek 3-DX fundus camera. All cases of ophthalmic findings were determined on the basis of pathology in the worse eye. Results: Most eyes were free from abnormalities. The most frequent findings were cataract and age-related macular changes. Nuclear cataract (nuclear opacity grade ≥2) was present in 4.5%, cortical cataract (cortical opacity grade ≥2) in 14.3% and posterior subcapsular cataract in 3.0% of participants; in addition, coronary cataract was observed in 13.6%. Soft drusen larger than 125 μm were found in 11.4%, retinal pigment epithelium changes in 9.5%, epiretinal membrane in 6.6% and age-related macular degeneration in 0.5% of participants. Summary: Due to the selection criteria, the majority of participants had clear or minor lens changes and/or minor retinal age-related changes. Precise instrumental documentation will allow an accurate assessment of the incidence and dynamics of these changes throughout 4 years of observation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-416
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999


  • Age-related maculopathy
  • Cataract
  • Maculopathy
  • Randomized controlled trial

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