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February 26, 1997

An 82-Year-Old Woman With Cataracts, 1 Year Later

JAMA. 1997;277(8):669. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540320071038

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In February 1996, at the combined Ophthalmology/Gerontology Grand Rounds of the Beth Israel Hospital, Dr Stephen Obstbaum discussed an 82-year-old woman from Haiti whose vision was worsening secondary to bilateral cataracts. She lived with her daughter and extended family in a suburb of Boston, Mass, spoke only Haitian Creole, and had a history of cataracts for at least 20 years. Her vision had become increasingly poor throughout the years, but she had accepted only medicines prescribed for her during her frequent trips back to Haiti. When examined in 1996, she had 20/200 vision at distance in both eyes, with near vision in the 20/50 to 20/70 range. Her ophthalmologist suggested cataract surgery but she declined. Generally well, with a history of reasonably controlled hypertension and mild adult-onset diabetes, Mrs K was cared for by her grandson and a visiting nurse at home. Herbal teas and oils were her principal source