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Background: Cataract is a leading cause of childhood visual impairment in developing countries. Cataract in children causes the blurring of retinal images and therefore disrupts the development of the immature visual pathways in the central nervous system with subsequent development of amblyopia if there is no timely surgical intervention. There are several associations of pediatric cataract- both systemic and ocular which have considerable consequences on the management and post operative outcomes.
Aim: To identify the systemic and ocular associations of childhood cataract presenting in Evangelical church of West Africa (ECWA) Eye Hospital, Kano, Nigeria from 2006 to 2014.
Methods: This was a prospective study of 694 children (1388 eyes) with 881 lens opacity seen at ECWA Eye Hospital, from January 2006 to December 2014. One hundred and eighty-seven children (26.9%) had bilateral cataract. All the patients had comprehensive paediatric review and their parents interviewed.
Results: Seven hundred and thirty eyes (82.8%) had cataract with associated ocular abnormalities: Nystagmus (22.5%), Squint (17.3%), Corneal opacity (8.8%), Microcornea (2.7%), Megalocornea (8.2%), Vascularized cornea (0.8%), Congenital glaucoma (10.4%), Iris coloboma (1.6%), Peripheral synaechiae (3.7%), Abnormal lens anatomy (6.6%). Ninety-eight children (14.1%) had various forms of associated systemic abnormality: Congenital Health Diseases, Deafness, Mentally Retarded, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Failure to Thrive, Mumps and Asthma.