Theoretic refractive changes after lens implantation in childhood

Ophthalmology. 1997 Nov;104(11):1744-51. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(97)30032-3.


Objective: Children with aphakia tend to have decreasing hyperopia as they grow older. No large study of the long-term refractive changes in children with pseudophakia has been published, although myopic shifts of greater than 10 diopters (D) have been reported. The authors used the refractions of children with aphakia and long follow-up to calculate the theoretic long-term refractive effects of pseudophakia.

Design: The study design was a chart review of eyes that underwent cataract surgery before age 10 with documented refractions for more than 7 years.

Participants: Ninety-three eyes were studied.

Intervention: The initial aphakic refractions of the study eyes were used to calculate the intraocular lens (IOL) powers that would have been required to give emmetropia at cataract removal. The aphakic refractions at last follow-up were used to calculate the final pseudophakic refractions, and these were compared with the predictions of a logarithmic model of myopic shift.

Results: The mean follow-up time was 11 years. The median calculated pseudophakic refraction at last follow-up was -6.6 D with a range of -36.3 to +2.9 D. Children who underwent surgery in the first 2 years of life had a substantially greater myopic shift than older children (P < 0.001) and a larger variance in this myopic shift (P < 0.001). The logarithmic model accurately predicted the final refraction within 3 D in 24% of eyes undergoing surgery before 2 years of age and in 77% of eyes undergoing surgery after this age.

Conclusions: Pseudophakia in children is predicted to result in a large quantity of myopic shift, particularly in very young children. An IOL power chosen to leave a child initially hyperopic should lessen both the quantity of myopic shift and the extreme myopia that can result with growth. The surgeon who implants IOLs in young children must be prepared for a wide variation in long-term myopic shift.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cataract Extraction
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Myopia / etiology*
  • Myopia / physiopathology
  • Pseudophakia / complications
  • Pseudophakia / physiopathology
  • Refraction, Ocular
  • Retrospective Studies