Aim To clinically and genetically characterise central pulverulent cataract in a consecutive cohort of children from the Arabian Peninsula who were referred for ophthalmic evaluation.
Methods Ophthalmic examination, homozygosity mapping in a consanguineous family and candidate gene analysis.
Results All 16 children (4–16 years old, mean 9 years; seven girls and nine boys from 10 families) had bilateral central nuclear dust-like lenticular opacities. Two patients (one family) had cortical riders and six had associated strabismus. Cycloplegic retinoscopy was usually hyperopic (13/16; right eye spherical equivalent +0.50 to +6.25 dioptres, mean +3.50) but was sometimes myopic (3/16; right eye spherical equivalent −0.50 to −11.75, mean −6.50). In children with amblyopia (5/16), the cause was significant uncorrected ametropias rather than the lens opacities. Three patients had uncomplicated unilateral cataract surgery suggested by an outside second opinion that did not improve best-corrected visual acuity. Homozygosity mapping for one consanguineous family suggested the candidate gene CRYBB1. Sequencing of this gene revealed a homozygous c.171del mutation (p.N58Tfs*107) with a shared haplotype in all 16 children. In asymptomatic carrier parents from five of the six families available for careful slit-lamp examination, occasional central dot lenticular opacities were documented.
Conclusions Central pulverulent cataract in this consanguineous population does not significantly impact visual acuity during early childhood, can be associated with significant ametropias (with amblyopia and/or strabismus) and is specific for a homozygous CRYBB1 founder mutation. Primary management in children is typically spectacle correction based on cycloplegic retinoscopy to treat significant refractive error rather than paediatric cataract surgery.
- Child health
- child health (paediatrics)
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Funding This study was funded in part by a KACST grant (08-MED497-20) to FSA.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval This study was approved by the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center institutional review board.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.