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October 1993

Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cataract Development

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Dunn and Jabs and Ms Enger) and Oncology (Drs Vogelsang and Santos), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md, and the Department of Hematology, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Wingard).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111(10):1367-1373. doi:10.1001/archopht.1993.01090100075031

Objectives:  To evaluate risk factors for the development of posterior subcapsular cataract following bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and the results of patients undergoing cataract extraction.

Design:  Retrospective case-control study.

Setting:  Tertiary referral center.

Patients:  Three hundred sixty-six patients (59% male, 41% female) undergoing BMT at one institution who survived for at least 1 month and underwent full ophthalmologic examination. Risk factors were then compared between patients who developed posterior subcapsular cataract and those who did not.

Intervention:  Cataract surgery in six eyes of four patients.

Main Outcome Measure:  Formation of posterior subcapsular cataract. Data were obtained on all patients for type of BMT, pretransplantation regimen, underlying malignancy, demographic background, complications of BMT, and medications.

Results:  Forty (10.9%) of 366 patients developed posterior subcapsular cataract. By univariate analysis, cataract formation was associated with total body irradiation, chronic graft-vs-host disease, the use of allogeneic bone marrow, and the total dose and duration of corticosteroid therapy. Multivariate analysis revealed that the total dose and duration of corticosteroid therapy were the most important risk factors, while total body irradiation was not a statistically significant risk factor. Cataract surgery was performed in six eyes of four patients, all of whom developed visual acuities of 20/40 or better.

Conclusion:  Posterior subcapsular cataract following BMT is uncommon and rarely requires surgery. Total dose and duration of corticosteroid therapy are the most important risk factors for development of cataract, but total body irradiation is not a statistically significant risk factor.