Acquired central corneal thickness increase following removal of childhood cataracts

Am J Ophthalmol. 2011 Mar;151(3):434-41.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2010.09.019. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


Purpose: To evaluate central corneal thickness (CCT) in children with congenital/developmental cataracts before and after cataract removal, to correlate CCT with corneal diameters before cataract surgery in this same group, and to evaluate CCT over time in a separate group of children who were already aphakic or pseudophakic at study entry.

Design: Longitudinal study.

Methods: Children with cataract (Group 1, with pre-cataract-removal CCT) and aphakia/pseudophakia (Group 2, presenting after cataract removal) were included. CCT measurements were performed using ultrasound pachymetry. Normal fellow eyes of unilaterally affected cases served as controls. In bilateral cases, right eyes were used for analyses.

Results: Group 1 comprised 66 children. Before cataract surgery, unilateral cases (n = 31) showed similar CCT and strong association between the affected and fellow eyes (552.0 ± 32.9 μm vs 550.9 ± 40.4 μm, respectively; r(2) = 0.71, P = .0001). After cataract surgery, affected eyes (n = 13) showed mean CCT increase of 29.7 ± 43.1 μm (P = .03) while fellow eyes remained unchanged. Similarly, before cataract surgery, bilateral cases (n = 35) showed similar CCT between the right and left eyes. After cataract surgery, mean CCT increase was 27.4 ± 39.4 μm for first operated eyes of bilateral cases (n = 17, P = .01). Group 2 comprised 50 aphakic/pseudophakic children lacking pre-cataract-removal CCT. CCT was higher in eyes with glaucoma vs those without, at both first and last measurements (ΔCCT 58.9 ± 27.0 μm at first examination, P = .034, and 56.4 ± 27.1 μm at last examination, P = .043, respectively). There was no statistically significant CCT change over the study interval (median 28 months) for either Group 2 eyes with or those without glaucoma.

Conclusions: CCT in children with cataracts increases after cataract surgery while the fellow eye remains stable. This increase seems to occur early after surgery, likely remaining stable thereafter, though glaucoma can accentuate the increase.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aphakia, Postcataract / etiology*
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Cataract / congenital*
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cornea / diagnostic imaging
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Pseudophakia / etiology*
  • Ultrasonography