Your child's visual rehabilitation after cataract surgery

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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Now that surgery is completed, it is time to start the visual rehabilitation. This may include using a contact lens, wearing glasses, having an intraocular lens (a lens implanted in the eye during surgery) and eye patching therapy.

Contact lens

After surgery your ophthalmologist (eye doctor) may prescribe a contact lens for your child to wear. An appointment with an orthoptist (eye therapist) will be made for a contact lens teaching session. In the session you will be shown how to insert, remove, clean and care for your contact lens. This appointment usually takes one to two hours. You will need to have short fingernails and it is best to bring a support person with you. It is also helpful to bring a wrap, and any comfort items your child might have such as a dummy or toy. Babies might need extra feeds during this appointment.

Glasses

Glasses may be used in place of a contact lens for some children. They may also be used after an intraocular lens has been implanted. Your ophthalmologist will prescribe glasses for your child if they are needed.

Intraocular lens

Often adults are given an intraocular lens at the time of surgery, when a cataract is removed. In children this is not always the case as the eye is still growing. An intraocular lens may be placed in the eye at the time of surgery. It may also be inserted when your child is older, during a second operation. Not all children with congenital cataract will have an intraocular lens inserted.

Patching therapy

Sometimes patching therapy is needed. The Orthoptist will teach you how to patch your baby's stronger eye to encourage improvement in the vision of the weaker eye. The ophthalmologist and orthoptist will work out a daily patching regime for your child.

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The Children's Hospital at Westmead
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Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
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Hunter New England Kids Health
www.hnekidshealth.nsw.gov.au

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