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October 1961

Cataracts in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Treated with Corticosteroids: Description and Differential Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md.
From the Ophthalmology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness and the Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch, National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1961;66(4):519-523. doi:10.1001/archopht.1961.00960010521013

A previous report by us1 has detailed the occurrence of posterior subcapsular cataracts (PSC) in 5 of 22 (23%) rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with 10-16 mg. of prednisone or its equivalent daily for one year or more and in 12 of 16 (75%) treated with 16 mg. or more. The age of the patients and the duration and severity of rheumatoid arthritis showed no significant correlation with the development of cataracts, and since no cataract of this type was seen in 19 rheumatoid arthritis patients who were not treated with corticosteroids, it was suggested that corticosteroids were the chief etiological factor. It is the purpose of this paper to delineate and discuss the cataracts of the above 17 patients from an ophthalmologic orientation.

Material and Methods  The population was composed of 5 females and 12 males, ranging in age from 34 to 61 years.