Trinitrotoluene (TNT)-induced cataract in Danish arms factory workers


Anders Kruse MD
Department of Ophthalmology
Aalborg Hospital
Hobrovej 18-22
PO Box 365
DK-9100 Aalborg
Tel: + 45 99 32 24 41
Fax: + 45 99 32 24 56


Purpose: To compare the prevalence of cataract in workers exposed to trinitrotoluene (TNT) to the prevalence in a group of unexposed workers, matched on age and sex, using Tiukina's description and grading of TNT-induced cataract.

Methods: A total of 23 TNT-exposed and 44 unexposed workers underwent an eye examination performed by an ophthalmologist who did not know the exposure status of the subjects. All lens opacities matching Tiukina's description were classified as TNT cataract and graded on Tiukina's scale of stages 1–4.

Results: Four cases of TNT-induced cataract were identified among the 23 TNT-exposed workers and none in the unexposed group (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Exposure to TNT may cause a unique type of cataract, which a general ophthalmologist, using Tiukina's description and grading scale, will be able to distinguish from other cataracts.