From Cataract Surgery to Glaucoma

Cataract surgery patients may be at risk for developing glaucoma later

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) While surgery can improve the cloudy vision caused by pediatric cataracts, new research suggests it may also increase a child's risk for another eye disease called glaucoma.

A recent study found that the patients who had surgery for congenital (existed at birth) cataracts had a higher chance of developing glaucoma.

According to the study's authors, these findings suggest that after surgery, these patients should have close monitoring of their eye health.

"Keep all your child's doctor appointments."

The purpose of this study, led by Scott Lambert, MD, of the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, Georgia, was to determine how many children developed glaucoma after having cataract surgery.

The study focused on 37 infants who had cataract surgery between 1988 and 2010. Among these 37 infants, the researchers reviewed the records of the 62 eyes that were operated on. The researchers wanted to see how many eyes developed glaucoma, and how many eyes were at risk of developing glaucoma.

Overall, about 15 percent of the eyes had developed glaucoma, while about 26 percent were considered to be at risk of developing glaucoma.

The researchers found that each eye had about a 20 percent chance of developing glaucoma within 10 years after cataract surgery.

The researchers also found that an eye had a 63 percent chance of either developing glaucoma or being at risk for developing glaucoma.

The researchers reported that while cataract surgery was linked to improved vision, it was also shown to increase a patient's chance of developing glaucoma.

In this study, close to two out of three eyes that had congenital cataract surgery would either develop glaucoma after 10 years or be at risk for developing glaucoma.

The study authors recommended that patients' eyes be monitored after cataract surgery to protect their eye health.

This study appears in the August issue of the American Journal of Opthalmology.

This study was funded by Research to Prevent Blindness and a grant from the NIH.

Study co-author Allen Beck, MD, declared a potential conflict of interest with Merck.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 18, 2013
Last Updated:
July 26, 2013