Cataracts in children

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2005 Apr;31(4):824-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2005.01.012.


Bilateral congenital cataract is the most common cause of treatable childhood blindness. Nuclear cataract is usually present at birth and is nonprogressive, whereas lamellar cataract usually develops later and is progressive. Surgery must be performed promptly in cases with dense congenital cataract; if nystagmus has developed, the amblyopia is irreversible. A treatment regimen based on surgery within 2 months of birth combined with prompt optical correction of the aphakia and aggressive occlusion therapy with frequent follow-up has been successful in unilateral and bilateral cases. Both anterior and posterior capsulorhexes are performed in most children. Intraocular lens implantation can be performed safely in children older than 1 year. Anterior dry vitrectomy is recommended in preschool children to avoid after-cataract. Opacification of the visual axis is the most common complication of cataract surgery in children. Secondary glaucoma is the most sight-threatening complication and is common if surgery is performed early. Life-long follow-up is essential in these cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amblyopia / prevention & control
  • Aphakia, Postcataract / therapy
  • Capsulorhexis / methods
  • Cataract / congenital*
  • Cataract / diagnosis
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contact Lenses
  • Eyeglasses
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Visual Acuity