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March 1950

CATARACT WITH ATOPIC DERMATITIS: Dermatologic Aspects, with Special Reference to Preoperative and Postoperative Care

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1950;61(3):433-441. doi:10.1001/archderm.1950.01530100077010

THE FORMATION of juvenile cataracts is associated more or less commonly with three diseases of the skin, namely, disseminated neurodermatitis (atopic eczema), poikiloderma atrophicans vasculare (Rothmund's syndrome) and scleroderma. The last two diseases, as well as the pertinent literature, were discussed in detail by Thannhauser.1 He presented evidence which indicated conclusively that neurodermatitis with cataract differed considerably from these diseases. The dermatologic aspects of atopic dermatitis with cataract were reviewed by Brunsting.2 That the superficial layers of the lens should participate in diseases of the skin is not a matter for surprise. The lens is derived from ectoderm and would be expected to react to stimuli which affect the skin even though the lens has undergone extreme modification of structure in order to perform a highly specialized function. Where the reaction of the skin to noxious stimuli may take many forms—for example, lichenification and hyperpigmentation—the lens can react only by becoming opaque.