Cortical lenticular opacification: distribution and location in a longitudinal study

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1994 Feb;35(2):363-6.


Purpose: To examine the distribution of cortical opacification of the lens by lens quadrant in a longitudinal study.

Methods: In 1990, a follow-up assessment of a cohort of Chesapeake Bay watermen, initially studied in 1985, was performed. Four hundred thirty-seven subjects (834 eyes) had gradable cortical photographs for at least one eye in both 1985 and 1990. Cortical photographs were graded by both estimating total area and determining the quadrant with the greatest degree of cortical opacification.

Results: The prevalence and severity of cortical opacification increased with age with a high degree of concordance (84%) between eyes. For the 47 eyes with cortical opacification > or = 1/8 at baseline, the principal locations of opacification were: inferonasal 63.8%, inferotemporal 17.0%, superonasal 6.4%, and superotemporal 12.8% (P < 0.001, compared with equal distribution by quadrant). Five-year development of new cortical opacification and five-year progression of existing cortical opacification showed even greater preferential occurrence in the inferonasal quadrant of the lens.

Conclusions: In this population, the inferonasal quadrant of the lens is the principal site of cortical opacification in both cross-sectional and longitudinal assessment. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that sunlight exposure is a significant risk factor for cortical opacification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Cataract / pathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lens Cortex, Crystalline / pathology*
  • Lens Cortex, Crystalline / radiation effects
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Maryland / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Prevalence
  • Radiation Injuries / epidemiology
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects