Objective: To describe the largest series of patients who developed aphakic glaucoma after lensectomy for congenital cataracts.
Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all patients seen by a pediatric glaucoma specialist between October 1, 1970, and November 30, 2002. Patients with intraocular pressures greater than 25 mm Hg after lensectomy were studied. Patients with either conditions independently associated with glaucoma or any signs of glaucoma before lensectomy were excluded.
Results: We studied 170 eyes of 117 patients. The mean +/- SD follow-up period was 8.6 +/- 7.6 years. The most common cataract types were complete (40.8%) and nuclear (22.5%). For the lensectomies, 103 eyes underwent modern vitrectomy techniques, and 10 underwent older techniques. Lensectomies were performed in 80.6% of eyes before age 1 year. Onset of glaucoma after lensectomy was by 1 year in 37.1% of eyes, by 6 years in 75.9%, and by 33 years in 100%. Of eyes that had gonioscopy, 93.9% had open angles. Glaucoma surgery was needed in 57.1% of eyes. The median final visual acuity was 20/400.
Conclusions: Most cases of aphakic glaucoma are of the open-angle type. Various risk factors are suggested, and the prognosis is guarded. Lifelong follow-up is needed to screen for glaucoma.