Cataracts and cataract surgery in mentally retarded adults

Theodore T. Wu, Lina Amini, Christopher T. Leffler, Stephen G. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose. To examine the prevalence of cataracts and cataract surgery in a population of mentally retarded adults. Methods. The prevalence of cataracts and cataract surgery was examined in a retrospective chart review. A total of 119 consecutive patients from the Southside Virginia Training Center for mentally retarded adults were seen in the authors' ophthalmology clinic during a 3-year period from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2001. Intraocular lens (IOL) implantation and postoperative complications were noted in patients who had undergone previous cataract surgery. Results. Of the 119 patients seen, 64 (54%) had cataracts or a history of cataract surgery. Thirteen (20%) of these 64 patients had a history of cataract surgery (21 eyes total). Seventeen (81%) of these 21 eyes had IOL implantation (14 posterior-chamber IOLs [PCIOLs] and three anterior-chamber IOLs). Postoperative surgical complications occurred in 7 (33%) of 21 eyes and included anterior uveitis in three (14%) eyes, posterior capsular opacification in two (10%) eyes, rhegmatogenous retinal detachment in one (5%) eye, dislocated PCIOL in one (5%) eye, pseudophakic bullous keratopathy in one (5%) eye, and cystoid macular edema in one (5%) eye. There were no cases of postoperative endophthalmitis or retained lens fragments. Conclusions. The prevalence of cataracts in adult mentally retarded patients is higher in this series (P<0.001) than in the world literature. However, if only visually significant cataracts are considered, the results are consistent with previous studies. Postoperative complications were common. Patients experienced higher rates of anterior uveitis (P=0.001) and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (P=0.002) in this study than in previous studies. In this population, careful preoperative screening is recommended to select those patients most likely to benefit from cataract surgery and least likely to experience severe postoperative complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-53
Number of pages4
JournalEye and Contact Lens
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005


  • Cataract surgery
  • Intraocular lens
  • Mental retardation
  • Phacoemulsification
  • Posterior capsular opacification
  • Uveitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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