Cataract after vitrectomy in young patients

Ophthalmology. 1997 Jul;104(7):1092-5. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(97)30180-8.


Objective: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the occurrence of cataract in young patients after pars plana vitrectomy.

Design: The authors reviewed the medical records for previtrectomy and postvitrectomy lens changes in patients younger than 30 years of age at the Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan.

Participants: Forty-nine patients (50 eyes) younger than 30 years of age (mean age, 23.5 years; range, 5 months-30 years) underwent phakic vitrectomy over a 12-year period.

Main outcome measures: Cataracts were categorized as posterior subcapsular, nuclear sclerotic, or cortical. Cataracts also were graded as mild (1+), moderate (2+), or severe (3+).

Results: In this series of young patients, vitrectomy was performed for a wide range of ocular conditions, including trauma and complicated retinal detachment. Postvitrectomy cataract developed in 29 patients (60%). Eighteen patients (36%) had visually significant cataract on long-term follow-up (mean follow-up, 29.7 months; range, 6 months-13 years). The most common cataract was posterior subcapsular (57%), followed by nuclear sclerosis (23%), a combination of both (17%), and cortical cataract (3%). Patients with gas-filled eyes had a significantly higher rate of cataract formation than patients with fluid-filled eyes (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Postvitrectomy cataracts were more common in the authors' series compared with those of previous reports on young patients. Cataracts were most often posterior subcapsular and were significantly associated with the use of intraocular gas. The occurrence of postvitrectomy cataract appears to be higher in patients undergoing vitrectomy for complex ocular conditions, regardless of age.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Air
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gases
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Time Factors
  • Vitrectomy*


  • Gases