University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

EyeRounds Online Atlas of Ophthalmology

White cataract from trauma

Contributor: Andrew Doan, MD, PhD, University of Iowa

Updated and Expanded by: Ike Hasley, BS  and Lorraine M. Provencher, MD

During blunt trauma, a variety of forces act on the eye, including coup, contracoup, and anterior-posterior shortening and expansion. These forces can damage the lens capsule, zonules, or both, causing formation of a partial or complete contusion cataract. In some cases, trauma can cause opacification as well as lens dislocation. A perforating or penetrating injury can violate the lens capsule, often resulting in rapid cortical cataract formation at the site of rupture, followed by complete lens opacification.


  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Basic and Clinical Science Course. Section 11: Lens and Cataract. Ed: 2014-2015;50-51.
  2. Witherspoon CD, Kunh F, Morris R, et al. Anterior and posterior segment trauma. IN Roy FH. Master Techniques in Ophthalmic Surgery, Williams and Wilkins. 1995; 538-47.
  3. Tabatabael A, Kiarudi MY, Ghassemi F, et al. Evaluation of posterior lens capsule by 20-MHz ultrasound probe in traumatic cataract. Am J ophthalmol. 2012;153(1):51-4.

white cataract from trauma

Previous unilateral trauma caused this cataract resulting in light perception vision.

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last updated: -3/24/2017; originally posted: 02/08/2008
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