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Chapter 33 – Steroid-induced cataract

Abbas Samadi

Clinical background

Since the successful use of steroids in 1948 in the suppression of clinical manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis, numerous compounds with glucocorticoid activity have been synthesized. Today, they represent standard therapy for the reduction of immune activation in asthma and inflammation associated with allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndromes, and other systemic diseases, plus they are used in ocular infections and allotransplantation.[1] The therapeutic usage of glucocorticoids has risen continuously in recent years. Each year 10 million new prescriptions are written just for oral corticosteroids in the USA. Overall, the total market size is considered to reach about 10 billion US dollars per year. Glucocorticoids are used in almost all medical specialties for systemic as well as topical therapies.[2]

Despite its therapeutic efficacy, glucocorticoid therapy is associated with metabolic and toxic …