Visual outcomes and complications of posterior chamber intraocular lens implantation in the first year of life

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2001 Dec;27(12):2006-11. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(01)00973-7.


Purpose: To document the visual outcome and postoperative complications in infants who had congenital cataract surgery with posterior chamber intraocular lens (PC IOL) implantation in the first year of life.

Setting: The Children's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Methods: Twenty-seven eyes of 20 infants were reviewed. Seven infants (14 eyes) had bilateral congenital cataract and 13 (13 eyes), uniocular cataract. The mean age at surgery was 4 months (range 3 weeks to 11 months). A standard surgical technique involved anterior capsulorhexis, phacoemulsification with or without posterior capsulorhexis with in-the-bag PC IOL implantation, and no anterior vitrectomy. Surgery was performed by 1 surgeon. The mean follow-up was 41 months (range 6 to 88 months).

Results: The main complication was lens reproliferation into the visual axis. Of the 11 eyes that did not have a primary posterior capsulorhexis, 10 had 1 or more capsulotomies. Seven required a neodymium:YAG (Nd:YAG) laser capsulotomy a mean of 6 months postoperatively, and 2 had 2 Nd:YAG capsulotomies. Six eyes also had a surgical capsulotomy when the membrane was deemed too thick for further laser treatment. Fourteen of 25 eyes had a primary posterior capsulorhexis; 8 had no further intervention. Four eyes had persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV), 3 required a surgical capsulotomy, 2 had an Nd:YAG laser capsulotomy, 2 had an anterior vitrectomy, and 1 developed open-angle glaucoma. There was a mean refractive shift of 6.0 diopters after a mean follow-up of 41 months, with most of the myopic shift occurring in the first 24 months.

Conclusions: Visual axis reopacification was the main complication of IOL implantation in infants, with PHPV leading to more complications and repeat procedures. Anterior vitrectomy appeared to reduce the reoperation rate. Results indicate that primary posterior capsulorhexis is important and Nd:YAG capsulotomy is not satisfactory in infants. In addition, the reduction in glaucoma with IOL implantation, if borne out over the long term, is a significant advantage in cases of congenital cataract.

MeSH terms

  • Capsulorhexis
  • Cataract / congenital*
  • Cataract / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / surgery
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular*
  • Male
  • Phacoemulsification*
  • Postoperative Complications* / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Visual Acuity*