Although cataract is a pathology usually associated with age, thousands of children are born every year in the world with congenital cataracts in one or both eyes. Childhood cataract is one of the most frequent causes of visual decline in childhood and can involve a loss of serious vision if not treated in time.

Pediatric cataract, which can be corrected with the appropriate treatment, is caused by different causes, such as genetics, and can develop due to viral or bacteriological infections that affect the embryo or the child during his childhood. The incidence of inadequate care and infections is higher in developing countries, where the population lacks access to vaccines and adequate treatments.

A group of Spanish ophthalmologists, led by Dr. José Ángel Cristóbal Bescós, Head of the Ophthalmology Service of the Hospital Clínico de Zaragoza, has been a pioneer in incorporating the technical advances obtained in the field of adult ophthalmology to the treatment of cataracts in the childhood.

"Childhood cataract is one of the causes of poor vision and blindness in children and its treatment at an early age is key", says Dr. Cristóbal, who adds that "The studies carried out with multifocal intraocular lenses guarantee a better visual acuity at all distances, allowing these children to develop without difficulties".

Improvement of visual function

In several studies it has been observed that the implantation of multifocal intraocular lenses, a technique widely used in adult patients, provides a satisfactory result in children with unilateral cataract. The implantation of these lenses at an early age is associated with good visual results, which imply an improvement in visual acuity, with a low percentage of patients who require additional correction methods such as glasses and a considerable increase in their quality of life.

It has been confirmed that this treatment with multifocal lenses provides the best results in the case of monolateral infant cataracts, which are those that affect only one eye. The other eye usually remains healthy and acts as a dominant eye, with which the patient sometimes needs visual rehabilitation, through the use of glasses or the occlusion of the dominant eye with an occlusive patch.

These multifocal lenses are a good alternative to monofocal lenses in children over 4 years with unilateral cataracts, as they provide a good level of vision correction at all distances, both near and far.

The goal of surgery is to improve visual function without the need for corrective lenses, although occasionally a small optical correction will be required to achieve the maximum possible vision, so that the patient can read a book at school and ride in bicycle without vision problems, thus facilitating their development and learning.

Source: Alcon Spain

Cataract Surgery (2009) (November 2019).