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November 17, 1962

The Association of Cataract Formation and Systemic Corticosteroid Therapy

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich.
From the Department of Ophthalmic Surgery, the Rackham Arthritis Research Unit, and the Section of Allergy, Department of Internal Medicine, the University of Michigan.; Senior Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Public Health Service (Dr. Giles). Present address of Dr. Giles is Ophthalmology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, Bethesda, Md. Present address of Dr. Mason is McKee-Wilson Eye Clinic, Johnson City, Tenn.

JAMA. 1962;182(7):719-722. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050460011003

A group of 56 patients who had received sustained, systemic corticosteroid therapy were examined in order to determine the incidence of posterior subcapsular cataracts. Thirty-eight of the patients were rheumatoid arthritics, while 12 received corticosteroids because of bronchial asthma, 5 for systemic lupus erythematosus, and 1 for dermatomyositis. Fourteen patients out of the group of 38 (37%) rheumatoid arthritics exhibited the characteristic posterior subcapsular cataracts while a control group of 24 arthritic patients failed to show similar lens changes. Two patients in the group of 12 (17%) asthmatics also demonstrated posterior subcapsular cataracts. The dosage and duration of systemic corticosteroid administration appeared to be the major determining factor in the production of the lens changes.