2020–2021 BCSC Basic and Clinical Science Course™
11 Lens and Cataract
Chapter 5: Pathology
Cataract and Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, eczematous dermatitis, accompanied by itching and often seen in conjunction with increased levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) and a history of allergic rhinitis and asthma. Cataract formation has been reported in 5%–38% of patients with atopic dermatitis. The cataracts are usually bilateral, and onset occurs most often in the second to third decade of life, although cases in young children have been reported. Typically, these cataracts are anterior or posterior subcapsular opacities in the pupillary area that resemble shieldlike plaques (Fig 5-25). Although the pathogenesis of these cataracts is unclear, there appears to be decreased inhibition of free radical formation from decreased inducibility of superoxide dismutase in AD patients with cataracts.
Figure 5-25 Atopic dermatitis. A, Characteristic subcapsular cataract. B, Slit-lamp retroillumination image of the same eye.
Bair B, Dodd J, Heidelberg K, Krach K. Cataracts in atopic dermatitis: a case presentation and review of the literature. Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(5):585–588.
Mannis MJ, Macsai MS, Huntley AC, eds. Eye and Skin Disease. Lippincott-Raven; 1996.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 11 - Lens and Cataract. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.