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Glasses vs IOLs

Article ID: 7
Last updated: 14 Aug, 2017
Revision: 1
Views: 3
Question

 We live in the Hershey PA area. My son was diagnosed with a unilateral cataract at 2 months old. He had the subsequent surgery and we began the trials with contacts and backup glasses. We tried several contacts and after no luck at 9 months old our doctor began to discuss an IOL implant with us. We were always told that was not an option until he was 2 years old and the best case scenario would be waiting until he was an adult so the prescription would be accurate. 

We decided to go to Philadelphia to get some other opinions and were comforted by being told that our son would fair well with the use of his glasses, although he would not develop sight with his eyes working together, which the doctors did not think was a big deal. 

After we had our other opinions our doctor let the IOL go, but still stressed trying the contact lens. We began having issues with communication due to the large practice our doctor was a part of and recently made an appt. with another doctor in the Hershey area. Our son is now 18 months old and this new doctor also feels the IOL is our best course of action. We have always been reluctant to do this because of the risks, and supposed low probability of progress with his eyes developing together, but are wondering if we are doing him a disservice by not having the implant. What are your thoughts? 

Thank you,
Concerned Mom

Answer

There is no "right time" to do an IOL. Remember that IOLs do not improve vision. They simply avoid the cost and inconvenience of contacts.  Yes there are risks associated with the surgery and that's why we tend to do it usually when contacts or glasses are failing for a variety of reasons.  If contacts are going well, then there is no "need" to have an IOL.

Alex V. Levin, MD, MHSc, FRCSC
Chief, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Ocular Genetics
Robison D. Harley, MD Endowed Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology and Ocular Genetics
Wills Eye Hospital, Ste. 1210
840 Walnut Street                    
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5109

Chair, Scientific Advisory Board
Pediatric Glaucoma and Cataract Family Association
 

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