Objective: To investigate outcomes of bilateral pediatric cataract surgery in east Africa.
Design: Retrospective interventional case series.
Participants: Two hundred forty-three children who underwent bilateral cataract surgery at the Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation for Tanzania Disability Hospital between 2001 and 2004.
Methods: Demographic, surgical, preoperative, and postoperative clinical characteristics obtained from patient records were entered into a database (Microsoft Excel; Microsoft, Redmond, WA), and statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS software for Windows (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL).
Main outcome measures: Postoperative visual acuities and factors affecting them and postoperative refraction results.
Results: Intraocular lenses were inserted in the first eyes of 232 children (149 Alcon AcrySof [Alcon Laboratories, Fort Worth, TX], 83 polymethyl methacrylate [PMMA]). Fifty-eight (62%) of 94 patients with final follow-up acuities recorded in both eyes achieved 20/60 or better in their better eye and 13 (13%) of 94 patients were blind. Of the various predictors of good visual outcome identified for children or eyes, only absence of preoperative blindness (odds ratio [OR], 7.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.0-18.0; P<0.0005) remained significant in a multivariate logistic regression model. One hundred nine (51%) of 212 refracted first eyes had early postoperative refractive error spherical equivalent magnitudes of 2 diopters (D) or more. Ninety-nine (47%) of 212 eyes had initial postoperative cylinders of 3 D or more, dropping to 30 (18%) of 164 of those who had later follow-up refraction. Presence of biometric data was not associated with smaller postoperative refractive errors. Eyes with AcrySof lenses were less likely (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.04-6.06) to have more than 3 D of astigmatism at latest follow-up. AcrySof lenses also were more likely (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.2-3.7) to be fixated in the bag than PMMA lenses. Acute fibrinous uveitis occurred in 30 cases (12%), and transient corneal haze occurred in 20 cases (8%). Twenty-seven (11%) had chronic complications, 69 (28%) underwent a further general anesthetic procedure, and 9 (4%) underwent yytrium-aluminum-garnet capsulotomy.
Conclusions: Preoperative blindness was the strongest predictor of poor postoperative visual outcome; the use of AcrySof lenses as opposed to PMMA lenses made in-the-bag fixation more likely and also reduced postoperative astigmatism.