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Asthma, Steroids, and Cataracts

James E. Leibold, MD; Irving H. Itkin, MD
JAMA. 1964;188(10):938. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060360098027.
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To the Editor:—  In the Aug 10, 1963, Negative Results section (JAMA185:448) we reported on the absence of cataracts in 48 asthmatic patients who were treated with corticosteroids.Recently we were informed that posterior subcapsular cataracts had developed in one of our steroidtreated asthmatics. The patient was treated at the National Jewish Hospital at Denver but was discharged several months before the survey was made. Dr. James Burris of New York has written us outlining the clinical eye findings. The patient is 25 years old, with cataracts in both eyes dense enough to cause an acuity of 20/40 OD and 10/200 OS. The left cataract was surgically removed in December, 1963.This patient received a high dosage of steroids for one year and a moderate dosage (equivalent to 9-15 mg of methylprednisolone ) for five years.This case emphasizes the necessity of longer follow-up study for the detection of


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