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Early Onset Cataracts

Connection between childhood cataract surgery and later-onset glaucoma

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A study found that children who undergo cataract surgery have a higher risk of later-onset glaucoma.

Researchers used The Danish Family Archive for Hereditary Eye Diseases to identify a large Danish family with a history of childhood cataracts who were recruited between January and December 2022. The study included 133 eyes from 68 patients who were a median of 7 years old (range, 5-10) at the time of cataract surgery. Patients underwent an ophthalmologic examination to assess the presence of glaucoma or ocular hypertension (OHT); for those who did not want to undergo an exam (n=16), their medical records from a treating ophthalmologist were contributed.

The median time from cataract surgery to glaucoma, OHT, or the latest ophthalmologic examination was 35 years (range, 15-48).

A total of 15 patients had glaucoma or OHT in at least 1 eye, indicating a 47.7% long-term risk of glaucoma or OHT at age 70 years; 18 eyes in 12 patients had glaucoma, and 8 eyes in 5 patients had OHT.

“We could not confirm or dismiss an association between glaucoma/OHT and sex, age at surgery, number of ocular interventions before 18 years of age, or glaucoma after cataract surgery in a first-degree relative,” the authors noted.

The study is limited because patients underwent different surgical techniques. In addition, a third of glaucoma and OHT diagnoses were made without medical examination, relying solely on medical records.

“Patients who have childhood cataract surgery should thus be informed of the importance of maintaining regular ophthalmologic appointments throughout their lives to detect late-onset glaucoma at an early stage,” the authors concluded.

Reference

Schmidt DC, Eriksson F, Bach-Holm D, Grønskov K, Kessel L. Long-term risk of glaucoma after cataract surgery in childhood. Acta Ophthalmol. 2024. doi:10.111/aos.16636

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