Posterior capsulectomy in pediatric cataract surgery: the necessity of a choice

Ophthalmology. 1997 Dec;104(12):2168-74. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(97)30045-1.


Objective: The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether a posterior capsulectomy combined with anterior vitrectomy is a necessity in pediatric cataract.

Design: The incidence of posterior capsule opacification, the need for additional surgical interventions, and the influence of a primary posterior capsulectomy after cataract surgery in children were evaluated. The analysis was carried out by studying patients' records retrospectively or after prospective follow-up.

Participants: In 94 eyes (69 aphakic and 25 pseudophakic), the medical records were studied retrospectively. Twenty-eight eyes (18 aphakic and 10 pseudophakic) were observed prospectively during 1 year after surgery. In 20 eyes (6 aphakic and 14 pseudophakic) of 10 patients with bilateral cataract, a prospective comparison between the 2 eyes of the same patient also was carried out.

Intervention: Cataract surgery through the limbus with or without a primary posterior capsulectomy was performed in 114 eyes (43 of these received a posterior chamber intraocular lens [IOL] and 71 remained aphakic). In 28 eyes, the surgery was carried out by way of the pars plana (6 eyes received an anterior chamber IOL and 22 remained aphakic).

Main outcome measures: Incidence of posterior capsule opacification, the need for secondary surgical intervention, and visual acuity were measured.

Results: Opacification of the posterior capsule is observed in all children's eyes when a primary posterior capsulectomy (combined with an anterior vitrectomy) was not carried out. Earlier secondary cataract formation is associated with a younger age and with implantation of an IOL. Eyes undergoing a primary opening of the posterior capsule during the initial surgery of children with bilateral cataract achieved, in most cases, a better visual acuity than did their fellow eyes.

Conclusion: Although possibly a choice in older children, a primary posterior capsulectomy combined with anterior vitrectomy is a must in younger children and particularly when implantation of an IOL is planned.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cataract / pathology
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / pathology
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitrectomy