An interesting study done in Nepal and India has shown that the use of solid fuel in unflued indoor stoves is associated with increased risk of developing cataract in women who do the cooking. Cataract has been found to be widely prevalent in developing countries and especially among females. The present study examined the association between cooking with unflued indoor stoves and development of cataract.
A hospital-based study conducted on the Nepal-India border included 206 cases and 203 controls. Cases were female patients who had confirmed cataract. They were in the age group between 35 and 75 years. Controls were patients with refractive errors and similar to the cases by matching in age. Both the cases and controls were subjected to a questionnaire.
The analysis of the findings after taking into considerations differences in age, educational status, type of housing, type of lighting and the occupation showed that use of an unflued solid-fuel stove was a risk factor for the development of cataract. Also the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for using a flued solid-fuel stove was 1.23 as compared to the use of clean-burning-fuel stove such as biogas, LPG, or kerosene. Another interesting finding from the study was that where there was no ventilation in the kitchen the risk of developing cataract was higher.
In view of the evidence shown by the study the authors have suggested that replacing unflued stoves with flued stoves would greatly reduce the risk of developing cataract but the best option for a woman would be in using cleaner-burning fuels.