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June 1983

Bilateral Cataracts as the Initial Sign of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus in a Child

Author Affiliations

Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center Bronx, NY

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(6):602-603. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140320078021

In childhood, the classic symptoms of diabetes mellitus that prompt patients to seek medical attention include polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, weight loss, and often ketoacidosis. Although cataracts can occur with juvenile diabetes, they usually occur in patients with long-standing, poorly controlled disease.1,2 We describe a child in whom the acute loss of vision secondary to lenticular opacities was the initial sign of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

Report of a Case.—A 13½-year-old boy was referred to our hospital for metabolic evaluation prompted by the acute onset of bilateral cataracts. Two weeks prior to admission he had consulted an ophthalmologist, complaining of a loss of vision "overnight." At that time, bilateral dense, white lenses were seen and the fundi could not be visualized.

When seen by us the patient reported a three-week history of nocturia and mild polydipsia. One month earlier the mother had been told by the school nurse that he

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