Intraocular lens implantation in leprosy

Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 2002 Mar;70(1):9-15.


The preoperative, operative and postoperative ocular complications in 48 eyes of 39 leprosy patients who underwent standard extracapsular cataract extraction and posterior chamber intraocular lens implantation, by the same surgeon, were studied retrospectively. Seventeen were male and 22 were female. Thirteen (33%) were paucibacillary (PB) while 26 (67%) were multibacillary (MB) patients. Three patients were smear-positive at the time of surgery. Grade 2 deformity that included claw hands, absorbed fingers, saddle noses and foot drop were present in 64% of the patients. None of the patients had any previous intraocular inflammation although one patient had previously had a Type 1 reaction and 5 patients had previously had Type 2 reactions. Preoperative complications like corneal opacities (3 eyes) and lagophthalmos (5 eyes) were not associated with lower vision postoperatively. No significant operative complications like vitreous loss, endothelial damage or iris tear were encountered, except in one eye where there was a posterior capsular tear. Seventeen eyes (35%) developed uveitis of 3+ or more in the immediate postoperative period, but abated with routine topical steroid eye drops. Six months after surgery 7 out of 47 eyes (15%) had developed posterior capsular opacities. There were no significant differences (p = > 0.05) in the visual acuity outcomes or in ocular complications when MB patients were compared with PB patients. Smear-positive patients were not significantly different from smear-negative patients when postoperative complications were compared. Visual outcomes in the 23 eyes followed up at two years after surgery were 6/18 or higher, except in one eye which had sustained a severe injury one year after surgery. IOLs were found to be safe and beneficial in this series of patients, but a much larger prospective study with matched normal controls is needed to prove the safety and efficacy of IOLs in leprosy patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract / complications*
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular* / adverse effects
  • Leprosy / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome