Objectives: To study the prevalence and associations of asteroid hyalosis (AH) in a series of autopsy eyes. Methods: Retrospective review of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) autopsy eye database from 1965 to 2000 yielded 10801 patients. The patients' medical histories were reviewed for evidence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, alcohol abuse, hypercalcemia, hypothyroidism, and chronic renal failure. Autopsy records were searched for evidence of optic atrophy, macular degeneration, posterior vitreous detachment, atherosclerosis, and chronic renal failure. Asteroid hyalosis was diagnosed by examination of the autopsy eyes. Univariate and multivariate statistical methods were used to analyze our data. Results: The prevalence of AH was 1.96% in this autopsy population. By χ2 analysis, AH was significantly correlated with age (P<.001), male sex (P = .006), age-related macular degeneration (P = .02), hypertension (P = .03), atherosclerosis (P<.001), and posterior vitreous attachment (P<.001). After adjusting for age in a multivariate logistic regression analysis, statistical significance was found only for posterior vitreous attachment (P = .002) and male sex (P = .046). No statistically significant association was found with diabetes mellitus or alcohol abuse by univariate or multivariate analysis. Analysis of the odds ratio showed a strong age effect that increased from 5.0 (95% confidence interval, 2.2-11.3) in age group 41 to 50 years, compared with 25.4 (95% Wald confidence interval, 8.2-77.9) in the age group of patients older than 90 years. Conclusions: A unique epidemiological autopsy cohort study of AH and its systemic associations yielded a higher prevalence of AH than previous studies. Asteroid hyalosis was strongly correlated with age and inversely correlated with posterior vitreous detachment. Unlike some previous reports, we found no statistically significant correlation between AH and diabetes mellitus.
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