The association between oxidative or ultraviolet (UV) light induced DNA damage in the lens epithelium and the development of lens opacities, and the existence of DNA repair in lens epithelial cells have been reported. Polymorphisms of DNA repair enzymes may affect repair efficiency. In this study, we aimed to determine the frequency of polymorphisms in two DNA repair enzyme genes, xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group D (XPD) codon 751 and X-ray cross-complementing group 1 (XRCC1) codon 399, in a sample of Turkish patients with maturity onset cataract. By using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), we analysed XRCC1-Arg399Gln and XPD-Lys751Gln polymorphisms in 195 patients with cataract (75 patients with cortical, 53 with nuclear, 37 with posterior subcapsular, and 30 with mixed type) and in 194 otherwise healthy control group of similar age. There was a significant difference between frequencies for XPD-751 Gln/Gln genotype in cataract patients (12%) and healthy controls (20%) (P = 0.008, OR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.20-0.81). After stratification by the cataract subtypes, XPD-751 Gln/Gln genotype was found to be significantly different in patients with cortical (4%) type cataract in respect to control subjects (20%) (P = 0.038, OR = 0.16, 95% CI = 0.04-0.64). In addition, the allele frequency of the C (Gln)-allele of XPD-Lys751Gln was found to be significantly different in mixed type cataract group (P = 0.008, OR = 0.48, 95% CI: 0.260.90). No statistically significant difference was found for the genotypic and allelic distributions of the polymorphisms in XRCC1 gene between the groups. These findings suggest that polymorphism in XPD codon 751 may be associated with the development of maturity onset cataract. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.