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How safe are lens implants for children who need cataract surgery?

Increasingly, lens implants (known as intraocular lenses or IOLs) have been used in children to aid in visual recovery after cataract surgery. In fact, most children older than 2 years of age receive an IOL during cataract surgery today. (Lens implants have been routinely used to replace the natural lens after cataract surgery in adults for decades.) Lens implants are also used in children younger than 2 years of age though use in this age group is more controversial.

Both cataract surgery and IOL placement in children are highly successful, though vision is often limited in young children by amblyopia (commonly referred to as lazy eye), which can develop as a result of the cataract. Infection can occur after any surgery, including cataract surgery. Fortunately, this complication (endophthalmitis) occurs at a rate of less than one in 3,000 such surgeries, and vision can be salvaged in most cases if the infection is detected early.
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.