August 1965
Volume 4, Issue 4
Articles  |   August 1965
Epidemiological and Biochemical Studies of Cataract and Diabetes
Author Affiliations
  • A. PIRIE
    Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, University of Oxford, England
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science August 1965, Vol.4, 629-637. doi:
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      A. PIRIE; Epidemiological and Biochemical Studies of Cataract and Diabetes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1965;4(4):629-637.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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A survey has been made of the prevalence of diabetes among patients who have a senile cataract extracted, and the carbohydrates in senile cataractous lenses of diabetics and nondiabetics have been examined to determine whether the lens of the diabetic human, like that of the diabetic animal, accumulates sorbitol. All patients having a cataract extracted at the Oxford Eye Hospital during 1957 through 1962 were examined. With only patients living within a defined area and having a first operation for senile cataract considered, 13 per cent were diabetic. Among these, one third presented with cataract and the diagnosis of diabetes was made at the Eye Hospital. Extraction of a senile cataract is four to six times more common in diabetic persons over the age of 50 than in the nondiabetic. Those with poorly controlled diabetes are more likely to have a cataract extracted than those with well-controlled diabetes. The lens of a diabetic contains more sorbitol, glucose, and fructose than that of a nondiabetic. This finding, which applies to both senile cataractous lens, and non-cataractous lens obtained post mortem, is considered in relation to theories of the cause of formation of cataract in diabetes. There is an inverse relationship between the inositol and the glucose content of the senile cataractous lens.


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