March 21, 2011
1 min read

Early treatment critical to visual acuity of patients with congenital cataracts

Acta Ophthalmol. 2011;89(1):30-36.

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In children treated for bilateral dense congenital cataracts, surgery before 3 months of age is important to decrease the risk of visual acuity loss, a study found.

"The major predictive factor for long-term visual acuity is age at surgery," the study authors said.

Eighteen patients were included from a longitudinal, prospective, population-based study of all children with congenital cataracts born between 1980 and 1996 in southwestern Sweden. These patients were surgically treated before 37 weeks of age, followed for at least 10 years postoperatively and compared with children born without cataracts.

Best corrected visual acuity was tested monocularly from age 4 years to a median age of 15.5 years. A statistically significant increase in BCVA occurred between 4 years and 7 years, and patients reached a visual plateau at 7 years, experiencing no significant changes thereafter.

An age of 80 days or younger at time of surgery characterized the majority of patients with 0.3 logMAR or less. The threshold for this effect occurred between 80 and 130 days of age.

Compared with children who did not have congenital cataracts, the patient population had a long-term visual deficit of 0.5 logMAR to 0.6 logMAR. At the final follow-up, the better eye had a median logMAR of 0.35, and the worse eye had a median logMAR of 0.76.