Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Results of cataract surgery in young children in east Africa
  1. David Yorstona,
  2. Mark Wooda,
  3. Allen Fosterb
  1. aKikuyu Hospital, Kenya, bLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Dr Allen Foster, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UKa.foster{at}


BACKGROUND Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in children in east Africa. The results of surgery are poor, partly because of inadequate correction of aphakia.

METHODS A retrospective survey of 118 eyes in 71 children with bilateral cataract. All eyes had implantation of an IOL at the time of cataract surgery. The average age at surgery was 3.5 years. 28 patients(39%) were less than 2 years old at the time of surgery on their first eye.

RESULTS Preoperatively, 75.4% of eyes and 76.1% of patients were blind. A follow up of at least 3 months was available in 91 (77.1%) eyes. In these eyes, 44% had a latest corrected vision of 6/18 or better and 91.2% had a latest corrected vision of 6/60 or better. Eyes with zonular cataract, and eyes operated after the age of 2 years were more likely to obtain a vision of 6/18 or better. 3.3% of eyes and 1.8% of patients had an acuity of less than 3/60. Nystagmus was present in 42.3% of patients before surgery. In those patients followed up for a minimum of 6 months, 10.2% still had nystagmus. The most frequent complication was severe fibrinous uveitis, which occurred in 36 (30.5%) eyes. 62 (52.5%) eyes had a posterior capsulotomy at the time of cataract extraction. Of the remaining 56 eyes, 20 (35.7%) had so far required a posterior capsulotomy. The leading cause of poor visual outcome was amblyopia. Two patients developed severe complications related to the intraocular lens.

CONCLUSIONS Insertion of a lens implant at the time of cataract extraction appears to be well tolerated in the short term, and may offer significant advantages in an African setting.

  • cataract surgery
  • children
  • Africa

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


Linked Articles

  • Editorial