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J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2009 Jul-Aug;46(4):210-4. doi: 10.3928/01913913-20090706-05. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Nationwide trends in hospitalization and surgical treatment of congenital and infantile cataract among italian children 4 years and younger.

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Association Columbus Clinic, Rome, Italy.



To determine the number of patients 4 years and younger who were hospitalized and operated on for congenital or infantile cataracts in Italy from 1999 through 2004.


A retrospective review was performed of the Ministry of Health database on hospital admissions in Italy from 1999 through 2004.


In patients younger than 1 year, the mean number of admissions for congenital or infantile cataract was 3.78 and the mean number of admissions involving cataract surgery per 10,000 live births was 2.61. During the study period, an intraocular lens was implanted during 8.6% of the cataract extraction procedures performed in patients younger than 1 year and during 25.4% of those performed in older children (1 to 4 years old). Primary intraocular lens implantations were performed in 43 infants younger than 1 year (6-year mean: 5.9%) and in 77 children 1 to 4 years old (6-year mean: 11.6%).


The percentage of pediatric hospital admissions with discharge diagnoses of congenital or infantile cataract remained fairly stable from 1999 through 2004; rates were higher in children 1 to 4 years old than in children younger than 1 year. The percentage of hospitalizations for cataract that involved surgical extraction was higher in children 1 to 4 years old. It decreased over time in both age groups. Ophthalmologists in Italy use intraocular lens implantation in children who are at least 1 year old, although this procedure is not common.

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