Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
Clinical and molecular analysis of children with central pulverulent cataract from the Arabian Peninsula
  1. Arif O Khan1,2,
  2. Mohammed A Aldahmesh2,
  3. Jawahir Y Mohamed2,
  4. Fowzan S Alkuraya2,3,4
  1. 1Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  2. 2Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  3. 3Department of Pediatrics, King Khalid University Hospital and College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  4. 4Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Arif O Khan, Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh 11462, Saudi Arabia; arif.khan{at}


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
  • genetics
  • lens
  • epidemiology
  • Arabia
  • child health (paediatrics)

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • 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.