Does milk have a cataractogenic effect? Weighing of clinical evidence

Dig Dis Sci. 1989 Nov;34(11):1745-50. doi: 10.1007/BF01540053.


We undertook a prospective study to test Simoons' hypothesis that in certain susceptible races milk exerts a cataractogenic effect. Overall milk intake in low lactase deficiency areas did not correlate with cataract occurrence. Subgrouping of cataract patients revealed that greater milk intake did show positive correlation with cortical cataracts. Cortical cataracts were also markedly more common in females. Analysis of data from three different regions showed greater milk intake in cortical cataract patients only. Our data indicate the importance of specifying cataract type in cataract studies and highlight the problem this approach brings forth. We noted no different trends in subjects from northwest and southeast India, although the number of subjects from the southeast was considerably less. Patients with early cortical cataracts may be advised to restrict milk intake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cataract / classification
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk / adverse effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors