To determine the long-term risk of retinal detachment following pediatric cataract surgery and to identify risk factors for retinal detachment.
We included all children (aged 0 to 17 years) who during the time period of 1977 to 2005 underwent pediatric cataract surgery in Denmark, excluding cataract cases caused by trauma, or acquired systemic or acquired ocular pathology, and cases with ocular anomalies associated with the development of retinal detachment. Cases of cataract were ascertained from the mandatory Danish National Patient Register, and information on retinal detachment was based on medical chart review.
Among 1043 eyes of 656 children undergoing surgery for pediatric cataract, 25 eyes (23 children) developed retinal detachment at a median time of 9.1 years after surgery. The overall 20-year risk of retinal detachment was 7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3%-11%) among cataract patients. In otherwise normal children having isolated cataract, the risk was 3% (95% CI: 0%-7%). A significantly higher risk of developing retinal detachment was found in children with mental retardation (23% [95% CI: 9%-35%]) or in cataract cases with other ocular or systemic anomalies (16% [95% CI: 6%-24%]).
The estimated overall risk of retinal detachment 20 years after pediatric cataract surgery was 7%, but only 3% for isolated cataract. Particularly high risks of retinal detachment after cataract surgery were associated with mental retardation and having other ocular or systemic diseases.