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October 26, 1963


JAMA. 1963;186(4):422. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710040148013

That cataracts occur in association with a variety of dermatological disorders (syndermatotic cataracts or cataracta syndermotica) is well known. The relation should not be surprising, since the lens, the skin, and the appendages share a common embryonal origin in the surface ectoderm. Although such association occurs rather infrequently, it has great importance from both medical and legal standpoints.

The association of cataracts with ectodermal syndromes has been emphasized recently by a report from Winkelmann and associates1 of eight instances in which loss of hair, change in color of hair, and ichthyosis appeared as a result of the ingestion of triparanol (Mer/29). In addition, cataracts of the posterior subcapsular type developed subsequently in six of the patients, notably those in whom the cutaneous reaction was particularly severe.

Probably the most noteworthy dermatological link with cataracts is that of atopic dermatitis. According to Brunsting, Reed, and Bair,2 the progression of

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