gms | German Medical Science

102. Jahrestagung der DOG

Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft e. V.

23. bis 26.09.2004, Berlin

High incidence of juvenile cataracts in patients from Kazakhstan

Meeting Abstract

  • H. Holak - Praxisklinik im Rudolf-Virchow-Ärztehaus, Salzgitter
  • corresponding author S. Holak - Augenabteilung der Schlosspark-Klinik, Berlin
  • K. Borschke - Augenpraxis Dr. K. Borschke, Salzgitter
  • I. Lemmer - Praxisklinik im Rudolf-Virchow-Ärztehaus, Salzgitter
  • N. Holak - Augenpraxis Dr. N. Holak, Salzgitter

Evidenzbasierte Medizin - Anspruch und Wirklichkeit. 102. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft. Berlin, 23.-26.09.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04dogDO.04.02

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Veröffentlicht: 22. September 2004

© 2004 Holak et al.
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The incidence of juvenile cataracts has been extremely low in Europe and USA (reported rates for the USA and France are 0.12 %o and 0.22%o, respectively). Since the settlement of Germans from Kazakhstan in Salzgitter a noticeable increase of infantile cataracts was noted in this group of patients who were born between the middle of 1960 until 1975. The Kazakhstan region has been known to be an underground nuclear testing terrain in the second part of the 20th century.


A population screen was performed regarding the incidence of juvenile cataracts in the Salzgitter area. Clinical data and pictures were used for the analysis of the disease course and its complications.


Germans originating from the former Soviet Union make up 4.45% (4863 persons) of the entire population of Salzgitter (109290) and those from Kazakhstan account for 2.44% (2666). In 9 patients from Kazakhstan a juvenile cataract was found. This translates into the cataract prevalence rate of 0.185 % for the population of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and 0.336% from Kazakhstan. From 1969 to 1975 the mean frequency per year was 2.24%o. Thus we have found an 18.6- and 10.2-fold increases in the Kazakhstan group relative to the American and French prevalence rates, respectively. 5 eyes were treated with PCIOL, 4 with ACIOL, 6 of the 7 eyes were aphacic with a CL and 1 with glasses. 1 aphacic eye remained untreated because of a central toxoplasma scar and 1 because of a glaucoma fere absolutum. In 3 eyes a secondary glaucoma was found. The BCVA in PCIOL treated patients was 0.8, with ACIOL 0.6, and with CL 0.5. The last group of the patients included explanations of the IOL.


A well-known increased radioactivity in eastern Kazakhstan around Semipalatinsk described in literature, where German settlement was situated, may explain the extreme frequency of juvenile cataracts in the population from this region.