The effect on the human lens of prolonged hyperbaric oxygen therapy is reported. Eye examinations were given to 25 patients before, during, and after a series of 150 or more exposures to hyperbaric oxygen. All patients changed refraction in the direction of myopia during treatment. Fifteen of the patients had clear lens nuclei before treatment. Seven of these developed a nuclear cataract with reduced visual acuity during treatment. Reversible lens myopia has previously been noticed as a side effect of exposure to hyperbaric oxygen, but the cataractogenic effect in man has not been reported by other workers. This report strongly supports the theory of an oxidative damage to the lens proteins as a cause of nuclear cataract.
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