Contact lenses for the treatment of pediatric cataracts

Joseph J.K. Ma, Yair Morad, Elaine Mau, Henry P. Brent, Robert Barclay, Alex V. Levin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of the caregivers of children with cataracts who were visually rehabilitated with contact lenses. Participants: One hundred twenty-three caregivers of children <8.1 years old treated for unilateral and bilateral cataracts at one pediatric hospital. Design: Survey by questionnaire. Intervention: Primary caregivers were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire. Main Outcome Measures: Caregiver responses to questions assessing background and demographic and clinical information, as well as perceptions, attitudes, levels of compliance, and anxiety with respect to treatment, were reviewed. Caregivers were also asked to choose between aphakic rehabilitation with contact lenses, aphakic glasses, or intraocular lenses, given various hypothetical scenarios differing in regard to their final visual prognosis, risks of treatment complications, and cost. Results: The response rate was 82.9%. Absolute average stress levels for contact lens use were 1.36 ± 1.79 and 0.79 ± 1.48 (scale, 0-5) for insertion and removal, respectively, compared with 4.03 ± 1.64 and 2.40 ± 1.92 for cataract surgery and patching therapy, respectively. Although average paired initial resistance to treatment (RT) levels for contact lens insertion and removal on a scale of 0 to 3 were high (2.09 ± 1.15) and moderate (1.63 ± 1.20), respectively, final RT levels were significantly lower (1.09 ± 1.14 and 0.66 ± 1.07, respectively; P < 0.0001). The vast majority of caregivers chose contact lens use in hypothetical scenarios that depicted realistic expectations for other forms of aphakic rehabilitation. Conclusions: In our study, contact lenses seemed to be well tolerated by most patients, as assessed by caregivers. Although initial resistance to contact lens use is high, this decreases with time. Relative to other events in the treatment of pediatric cataracts, contact lens use is not a major stressor for most caregivers and patients. This study supports the notion that contact lenses should continue to receive serious consideration as a treatment option for pediatric cataracts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


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