Congenital Cataract Follow-up

Updated: Mar 22, 2016
  • Author: Mounir Bashour, MD, PhD, CM, FRCSC, FACS; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Deterrence/Prevention

A red reflex is essential not only in the newborn nursery but also in all office visits.

Frequent eye examinations help in the prevention of amblyopia.

Frequent glaucoma screenings are needed throughout the patient’s lifetime.

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Complications

See the list below:

  • Loss of vision even with aggressive surgical and optical treatment
  • Amblyopia
  • Glaucoma
  • Strabismus
  • Retinal detachment
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Prognosis

Of persons with unilateral congenital cataracts, 40% develop visual acuity of 20/60 or better.

Of persons with bilateral congenital cataracts, 70% develop visual acuity of 20/60 or better.

The prognosis is poorer in persons with other ocular or systemic involvement.

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Patient Education

Removal of the cataract is only the beginning. Visual rehabilitation requires many years of refractive correction (eg, contact lenses, aphakic glasses), possible patching for amblyopia, possible strabismus surgery, and glaucoma screenings.

Patients must be made aware of the risk of potential visual loss from amblyopia, retinal detachment, or glaucoma.

Repeated surgical procedures, including a secondary lens implant if other modalities of refractive correction fail, may be needed.

If this is a de novo chromosomal change or a familial abnormality, all siblings and future offspring are at risk.

For excellent patient education resources, visit eMedicineHealth's Eye and Vision Center. Also, see eMedicineHealth's patient education article Cataracts.

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