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J AAPOS. 2007 Jun;11(3):218-24. Epub 2007 Feb 15.

Pediatric cataract extraction with intraocular lens implantation: visual acuity outcome when measured at age four years and older.

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  • 1Miles Center for Pediatric Ophthalmology, Storm Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.



Assessment of visual outcome of pediatric eyes that underwent cataract extraction with primary intraocular lens (IOL) implantation at a single center.


A retrospective review of charts of 510 consecutive pediatric patients that underwent cataract extraction was performed. Exclusion criteria were traumatic cataract, secondary IOL implantation, retinopathy of prematurity, severe developmental delay, age less than 4 years at last follow-up, and follow-up less than 6 months. In bilateral cases, only right eye data were included.


One hundred thirty-nine eyes met inclusion criteria. Median age at surgery was 5.12 years (range, 0.03-16.92); median age at last follow-up was 9.05 years, and median follow-up was 3.65 years. Sixty-six of 139 (47.5%) patients had unilateral cataracts compared with 73/139 (52.5%) bilateral cases. The median visual acuity of all eyes was 20/30, with median visual acuity of unilateral and bilateral cases being 20/40 and 20/25, respectively. Older patients achieved better visual acuity (unilateral cases: p = 0.003; bilateral cases: p = 0.07). Eyes with a greater interocular axial length difference achieved poorer visual acuity. Forty-five patients had a final visual acuity worse than 20/40. Of these, 34 (76%) had a diagnosis of amblyopia as the sole cause. Nineteen of 139 (13.7%) eyes had final visual acuity worse than 20/200. Eighteen patients required strabismus surgery, and 22 required additional intraocular surgery.


Better visual acuity was associated with bilateral cataract, older age at surgery, and normal interocular axial length difference. Amblyopia was the major cause of residual visual deficit.

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