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There is evidence that the development of retinopathy in type 2 diabetes is associated with a microsatellite polymorphism at 5′ of the aldose reductase gene. The study examined whether cataract was associated with clinical/metabolic factors and/or the microsatellite polymorphism using a cohort of consecutively recruited Hong Kong Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes (n=567). Amongst these patients, 157 (28%) had cataract. The patients with cataract were older in age and age at diagnosis and had longer diabetes duration than those without cataract (all at p<0.01). They also had higher systolic blood pressure (p<0.01), HbA1c (p<0.05) and fasting plasma glucose levels (p<0.01; all with adjustment for the significance). Moreover, we found that the patients with cataract over-presented the microsatellite allele Z (23 vs. 30%, p<0.01) and its genotypes (Z,Z+Z,non-Z; 38 vs. 50%, p<0.01), but under-presented the allele Z−4 (8.3 vs 4.8%, p<0.05) and its genotypes (Z−4, Z−4+Z−4,non-Z−4; 16 vs. 10%, p<0.05). Using multiple logistic regression analysis (R2=0.25, p<0.01), we found that the presence of cataract was correlated positively with age, but inversely with the presence of allele Z−4. In conclusion, our data indicate that the occurrence of cataract is common in the Chinese type 2 diabetes population, with age and the aldose reductase gene as important determinants.