This review article examines the ophthalmic literature published on cataracts and systemic disease during the past year. Epidemiologically, the association between alcohol consumption and lens opacification is reviewed. Cataracts continue to be strongly associated with systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus. Clinical, basic science reports and the results of the Blue Mountains Eye Study group on the morphology of diabetes-related cataracts are presented. Patients with neurologic disorders such as Wilson disease may first present with decreased vision and cataracts. Cataracts are now associated with syndromes such as Cohen syndrome, Degos disease, and Dubowitz syndrome. A recent study suggests earlier mortality in middle-age patients undergoing cataract surgery.