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Effect of cigarette smoking on copper, lead, and cadmium accumulation in human lens

AIM To identify cigarette smoking as a risk factor for development of cataract, to determine the importance of copper, lead, and cadmium in cataractogenesis, and to learn about any relation between those elements.

METHODS Copper, lead, and cadmium concentrations were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in 37 cataractous and nine normal human lenses.

RESULTS All three element accumulations in lenses with cataract were statistically meaningful. Lenticular copper, lead, and cadmium were increased significantly with cigarette smoking. Cadmium had a positive correlation both with lead and copper in cataractous lenses.

CONCLUSION The accumulation of copper, lead, and cadmium occurs in cataract. The probable source of cadmium in humans is cigarettes. Lenticular cadmium accumulation also increases copper and lead precipitation in the lens. Cigarette smoking might be cataractogenic.