Cataracts in systemic diseases and syndromes

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 1999 Feb;10(1):22-8. doi: 10.1097/00055735-199902000-00005.


In the past year, harmony has developed among diverse areas of research in cataractogenesis. A number of epidemiologic studies have identified new, or strengthened the role of previous, risk factors in the development of cataract. Age, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, and inhaled corticosteroids have been implicated. Clinical observation of cataract in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, atopic dermatitis, Alzheimer's disease, and mitochondrial cytopathy have led to hypotheses of formation. The basic science research has, in some cases, given support to the clinical hypotheses, especially with respect to the role of estrogens and protein condensation in cataract as well as other systemic diseases. Although oxidative stress continues to be the leading proposed mechanism of cataractogenesis, genetic mechanisms are gaining increasing popularity. Finally, the results of previously contraindicated surgical management of cataract in the setting of advanced diabetic ocular disease and age-related macular disease are highlighted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cataract / diagnosis
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Syndrome