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January 1956

Spear Cataract

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, U. S. Naval Hospital.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1956;55(1):23-24. doi:10.1001/archopht.1956.00930030025005

Vogt,1 in 1922, described an unusual type of congenital cataract with crystal formation under the name of "spear cataract." His patient was a 9-year-old child with bilateral lens changes. These changes consisted of many shiny crystalline needles projecting in various directions throughout the axial area of the lens, being grouped around denser central opacities and having no apparent relation to the anatomic structure of the lens. Some areas resembled a spiny plant; others resembled a caterpillar. Some of the crystals were iridescent; some were over a millimeter in length and were grouped in bundles resembling tyrosine crystals. One lens was extracted and subjected to chemical analysis, which showed a predominance of cystine.

Three years after this case was published, Romer * investigated the remainder of this family and discovered a marked tendency toward cataract formation. Out of 42 persons, in four generations, he found 10 with what appeared to be

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