Background: To present the visual results and the complications of primary intraocular lens (IOL) implantation in infants aged 6 to 12 months between January 2002 and July 2007.
Methods: A total of 26 consecutive eyes, of 16 infants with cataract aged 6 to 12 months, were reviewed in the study. All patients had cataract extraction with anterior and posterior capsulorrhexis combined with anterior vitrectomy and primary hydrophobic acrylic IOL implantation. Six infants (six eyes) had unilateral congenital cataract and ten (20 eyes), bilateral cataract. Visual acuity and complications were recorded throughout the 46.4-month mean follow-up (range 22 to 79 months).
Results: All eyes had primary IOL implantation. The mean best-corrected visual acuity (logMAR) was 0.98 +/- 0.18,0.50 +/- 0.14 and 0.61 +/- 0.25 for unilateral, bilateral and all eyes respectively at the last follow-up. IOLs were implanted in the capsular bag of 25 eyes (96.2%) and in the sulcus of the remaining one eye (3.8%). Seven eyes (26.9%) developed visual axis opacification (VAO), and four eyes required secondary pars plana vitrectomy (PPV). IOL opacification occurred in one eye 54 months after implantation. Late onset open-angle glaucoma developed in one eye, and required trabeculectomy surgery. The predictors of good best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) included partial cataract, bilateral cataract, absence of strabismus or nystagmus, and good amblyopic treatment. The greatest annual myopic change (5.15 +/- 2.08 D) was observed during the first 12 months after surgery. In unilateral cases, there was no significant difference in the axial length between the cataractous eye and the fellow normal eye both at the time of surgery (P = 0.891) and final follow-up (P = 0.693).
Conclusions: Primary IOL implantation was safe and effective for infantile cataract surgery. Total or unilateral cataract, nystagmus or strabismus, and inadequate amblyopic therapy were predictors of poor BCVA. Significant myopic shifts occurred especially in infants in the first year of surgery. The pseudophakic eye had a similar growth rate, as measured by axial length, to that of the fellow normal eye, in unilateral cases.