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The Association of Cataract Formation and Systemic Corticosteroid Therapy

Conrad L. Giles, M.D.; Gordon L. Mason, M.D.; Ivan F. Duff, M.D.; James A. McLean, M.D.
JAMA. 1962;182(7):719-722. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050460011003.
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A group of 56 patients who had received sustained, systemic corticosteroid therapy were examined in order to determine the incidence of posterior subcapsular cataracts. Thirty-eight of the patients were rheumatoid arthritics, while 12 received corticosteroids because of bronchial asthma, 5 for systemic lupus erythematosus, and 1 for dermatomyositis. Fourteen patients out of the group of 38 (37%) rheumatoid arthritics exhibited the characteristic posterior subcapsular cataracts while a control group of 24 arthritic patients failed to show similar lens changes. Two patients in the group of 12 (17%) asthmatics also demonstrated posterior subcapsular cataracts. The dosage and duration of systemic corticosteroid administration appeared to be the major determining factor in the production of the lens changes.


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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