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Arch Ophthalmol. 2002 Nov;120(11):1559-65.

Infantile cataract in the collaborative perinatal project: prevalence and risk factors.

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Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Research, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bldg 31, Room 6A52, 31 Center Dr, MSC 2510, Bethesda, MD 20892-2510, USA.



To estimate the prevalence of 4 categories of infantile cataract in subjects surviving the neonatal period in a US cohort, and to investigate risk factors for isolated infantile cataract.


Prospective study of 55 908 pregnancies enrolled in the Collaborative Perinatal Project from 1959 to 1965 at 12 university medical centers.


We gathered data on demographic, lifestyle, and prenatal and perinatal obstetrical and postnatal factors using a standardized protocol. Pediatricians and neurologists examined infants at birth, 4 months, 1 year, and 7 years. We used exact logistic regression methods to compare putative risk factors in infants with isolated cataract with those in infants with no history of cataract.


Infantile cataract as diagnosed using a standardized dilated ophthalmic examination.


Infantile cataract occurred in 13.6 per 10 000 infants (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.7-17.1). Isolated infantile cataract occurred 3.8 times as often among infants born at weights at or below 2500 g than among those born at or above 2500 g (95% CI, 1.5-8.6; P<.001), after controlling for a set of covariates; we observed similar results for bilateral isolated cataract (odds ratio = 4.4; 95% CI, 1.2-13.9). No risk factor identified in bivariate analyses was independently associated with the odds of developing isolated unilateral infantile cataract.


Infantile cataract is a rare disorder occurring during childhood. Prevalence estimates reported here are within the limits of those from large-cohort studies in economically developed nations. Infants born at weights at or below 2500 g have a 3- to 4-fold increased odds of developing infantile cataract.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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