• blunt ocular trauma;
  • paediatric cataract;
  • penetrating eye injury;
  • traumatic cataract


Background:  To review visual acuity outcomes from paediatric traumatic cataract and examine the mechanisms by which they occur.

Methods:  A retrospective review of paediatric patients (aged less than 18 years) who underwent lens surgery following ocular trauma, between 1992 and 2006 at the Royal Children's Hospital and Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne. Data collected included gender, mechanism of injury, wound type, age at injury, age at surgery, refractive rehabilitation, complications and visual acuity outcome.

Results:  A total of 74 patients (75% male) were identified over the 15-year period, representing an incidence of 4.9 cases per year. The mean age at injury was 7.5 years. Sixty-five cataracts (88%) followed a penetrating eye injury, whereas only nine patients (12%) developed cataract after known blunt trauma. Fourteen patients (19%) underwent lensectomy at the time of primary wound repair and 45 patients (61%) underwent primary intraocular lens (IOL) implantation. Visual acuity outcomes ranged from 6/5 to no perception of light. Twenty-five patients (34%) achieved 6/12 or better in the injured eye, 23 patients (31%) achieved between 6/15 and 6/60, and 14 patients (19%) had visual acuity of less than 6/60. Twelve patients (16%) were lost to follow-up.

Conclusion:  In a paediatric population, cataract formation as a result of trauma requiring lensectomy is not uncommon. Males are more likely to suffer from such injury. A variety of sharp and blunt objects are the primary mechanism by which the injury is sustained with variable visual outcomes.