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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 232-236

Pediatric intraocular lens power calculation

Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Aravind Eye Hospital, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication19-Feb-2019

Correspondence Address:
Sandra Chandramouli Ganesh
Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Aravind Eye Hospital, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tjosr.tjosr_105_18

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Pediatric cataracts pose multiple challenges in terms of management and postoperative rehabilitation. Difficulties in obtaining accurate measurements for axial length and keratometry are encountered due to poor cooperation in children and instrumentation errors. There exist multiple formulae for intraocular lens (IOL) power calculation, which are based on various factors and have varying degrees of accuracy. Children exhibit a tendency for myopic shift due to the anatomical differences from adult eyes and due to the growth of eyeball, as a result of which they require undercorrection, when IOL implantation is planned.

Keywords: Intraocular lens, intraocular lens power calculation formulae, myopic shift, pediatric cataract, undercorrection

How to cite this article:
Ganesh SC, Rao SG, Alam F. Pediatric intraocular lens power calculation. TNOA J Ophthalmic Sci Res 2018;56:232-6

How to cite this URL:
Ganesh SC, Rao SG, Alam F. Pediatric intraocular lens power calculation. TNOA J Ophthalmic Sci Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Nov 27];56:232-6. Available from: https://www.tnoajosr.com/text.asp?2018/56/4/232/252486

  Introduction Top

Pediatric cataract affects around 200,000 children worldwide, with an estimated prevalence ranging from three to six per 10,000 live births,[1] accounting for 12% (range: 7%–20%) of preventable blindness[2] in children; their treatment, by surgical removal of the lenticular opacity, is of paramount importance, as failure to do so results in irreversible visual handicap. Visual impairment produces an adverse impact on the scholastic performance of the child and his or her professional abilities and quality of life, which translates into further economic loss and social burden.

Multiple challenges are encountered by the surgeon in the management of pediatric cataract. In addition to being technically exacting, there exists a fair possibility that functional or visual rehabilitation maybe suboptimal following a meticulously performed surgery producing a good anatomical outcome.

Several perioperative factors may be responsible for the above phenomena of early and delayed refractive surprises. Difficulty in obtaining precise measurements in children with respect to corneal curvature, anterior chamber depth (ACD), and axial length (AL) both in terms of cooperation and accuracy of instruments used can cause errors in intraocular lens (IOL) power calculation. This is further confounded by the fact that IOL power prediction formulae in common usage today are based on the theoretical models or regression from normative data from adult eyes. The application of these formulae to pediatric eyes may not hold true for all biometric aspects in children.[3] Pediatric eyes are expected to behave differently compared to the adult eyes owing to postoperative growth in the size of the pediatric eyeball, and with an IOL of constant power implanted in the eyes, there exists a higher possibility of myopic shift in pediatric pseudophakes and chance of delayed refractive surprises.[4]

  Instrumentation Top

Measurement acquisition in pediatric biometrics is challenging because young children are not cooperative, and a few of the measurements may need to be taken under general anesthesia, immediately after induction and before insertion of the eye speculum. Among the twin parameters of AL and keratometry, it has been noted that errors in AL estimation have a greater impact on power calculation and the final refractive outcome as compared to erroneous keratometric readings. Inaccurate keratometric values cause errors of 0.8–1.3 diopters in both adults and children. Inaccurate AL measurement can account for 3–4 diopters of error for each millimeter difference in IOL power in adults and 4–14 diopters or higher in pediatric eyes.[5]

Instruments using partial coherence interferometry such as IOLMaster (Carl Zeiss Meditec, Jena, Germany) and the Lenstar (Haag-Streit AG, Koeniz, Switzerland) are used in older children and younger adults. Measurement of AL under anesthesia is performed with A-scan ultrasound biometry, using either applanation or immersion techniques. Applanation involves holding the probe in contact with the cornea which may induce measurement error in the form of shorter AL and ACD measurements due to corneal compression, leading to incorrect IOL power calculations. Immersion A-scan uses a coupling fluid between the probe and the cornea to reduce indentation and has been shown to be more accurate than the applanation method[6] and in fact is considered the gold standard.

Keratometry and errors in its measurement produce a comparably less unfavorable outcome on the final IOL power. Hand-held keratometry can be used under anesthesia in young children, but results may be flawed owing to the lack of fixation and centration. Obtaining multiple readings of the same and recording the average reading are considered helpful in overcoming the error.

  Formulae for Intraocular Lens Power Calculation Top

Since their origin in the 1950s, formulae for IOL power calculation have been subject to constant evolution. There exist two basic kinds of formulae: theoretical, determined by application of geometrical optics to the schematic and reduced eyes using various constants, and regression, using the actual postoperative results of implant power as a function of the variables of corneal power and AL or formulae which include a combination of both of the above. Various parameters, such as net corneal power, AL, effective lens position, and vertex distance, are involved in the determination of implant power and expected postoperative refraction.

Sanders, Retzlaff, and Kraff developed SRK formula, which was the most widely used formula for a long duration. Following this, various changes were suggested and practiced taking into account the effective lens position. Holladay, Holladay 2, Hoffer Q, SRK/T, or Haigis were derived as a result of the newer modifications that were made to the existing formulae.

Existing formulae are mainly derived from studies on adult eyes and are known to be accurate over a range of ALs between 22 and 26 mm. Data regarding accuracy based on AL are shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Recommended intraocular lens power calculation formulae as per axial length

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Application of the above data to pediatric eyes is seen to produce inconsistent outcomes and conflicting results exist between studies conducted by various authors. Apart from inaccurate measurements, other possible sources of error in short eyes are related to a steep cornea, shallow ACD, short ALs,[7] dense cataracts which may influence the final measurement to a greater extent in shorter eyes,[8] and denser vitreous which may reduce ultrasound transmission and hence affect the results.[9] Pediatric IOL calculator[10] is a computer program using the Holladay 1 algorithm and pediatric normative data for AL and keratometry readings as established by Gordon and Donzis.[11] It aims to calculate the postoperative pseudophakic refraction of a child during the immediate postoperative period and later to predict the refractive change as the child grows.

Most of the literature available for pediatric eyes consists of retrospective studies and not many measure refractive changes occurring overtime. Mezer et al.[12] evaluated the refractive outcome in the postoperative period in 49 patients using two regression formulas (SRK and SRK II) and three theoretical formulas (Holladay 1, Hoffer Q, and SRK/T). Children of 6–7 years' age group at the time of surgery were included and mean difference between the predicted and actual postoperative refractions with all formulas ranged from 1.06 to 1.2 diopters. They concluded that all of the five IOL power calculation formulas were unsatisfactory in achieving target refraction.

In a retrospective case series conducted by Nihalani and VanderVeen[13] in 2011, 135 eyes that underwent uncomplicated pediatric cataract surgery with IOL implantation using formulae SRK II, SRK/T, Holladay 1, and Hoffer Q, prediction error (PE) (PE = predicted refraction – actual refraction) was calculated and compared among the above formulae. It was seen that though in cases where PE was insignificant (<0.5), it was similar for all the formulae; among those cases (PE >0.5), Hoffer Q was most predictable of the formulae, while the others tended to produce an undercorrection. They also reported that there was a trend toward greater PE in the eyes of younger children (<2 years), shorter AL (AL <22 mm), and steeper corneas (mean K >43.5 diopters [D]). As pediatric eyes are shorter, it is expected that the Hoffer Q formula would have better accuracy in these eyes as it was formulated for shorter ALs. Hoffer had reported a greater accuracy of Hoffer Q formula as compared to SRK/T[14] in adults with ALs >22 mm and Holladay 1 and Holladay 2,[15] but these results were based on studies done in small populations and their reliability was called into question. Subsequent studies by Gavin and Hammond[16] found Hoffer Q to be of greater accuracy than SRK/T in smaller eyes, whereas MacLaren et al.[17] suggested that both Hoffer Q and Haigis performed equally well for these eyes. Neely et al.,[18] though, reported that among the youngest group of children with ALs <19 mm, SRK II regression formula gave the least amount of variability, whereas the Hoffer Q gave the greatest.

Holladay 2 formula uses additional factors such as white-to-white corneal diameter, ACD, age, and lens thickness. Holladay 2 formula was compared with that of the Holladay 1, Hoffer Q, and SRK/T formulas by Trivedi et al.[19] and found to have the least PE specifically for the subgroup of the eyes <22 mm in length, following which the authors concluded that Holladay 2 formula can be reliably used despite the lack of preoperative refraction.

Further studies evaluating the PE with different IOL power calculation formulae produced inconsistent and mixed results.

Vasavada et al.[20] conducted that an observational case study on 117 eyes of patients, of an average of 2 years of age, compared the PE for refractive outcome for each formula and they were evaluated based on initial AL. They proved with statistically significant data that SRK/T and Holladay 2 had the least PE in pediatric eyes. Personalizing the lens formula constant reduced the PE significantly for all formulae except Hoffer Q. In eyes AL <20 mm, SRK/T and Holladay 2 gave the best PE. These conclusions were also supported in a comparative case series by Vanderveen et al.,[21] which showed that Holladay 1 and SRK/T gave equally good results and had best predictive value for infant eyes.

O'Gallagher et al.[22] evaluated children under the age of 8 years undergoing cataract surgery with IOL implantation and compared Hoffer Q, Holladay 1, SRK-II, and SRK/T in a small sample of patients and noted that mean absolute error was lesser in SRK/T, which is in agreement with results of Vasavada et al. They differ from findings of Vasavada et al. in that they found values obtained using Hoffer Q to have improved accuracy.

IOL power calculation in children of age lesser than 2 years is especially challenging. Retrospective case series done by Kekunnaya et al.[23] compared 128 eyes of 84 children for SRK II, SRK/T, Holladay, and Hoffer Q. They found that the absolute PE tended to remain high with all the formulae, but it was significantly lesser with SRK II than with other formulae. PE with SRK II formula was not affected by any factor such as age, keratometry, or AL. AL influenced the absolute PE with Holladay and Hoffer Q formulae. Mean keratometry influenced PE with SRK/T formula. Children <2 years of age comprise only a subgroup, and most of the studies are underpowered to detect statistically significant differences. This age shows a rapid elongation of the eyeball and flattening of the cornea, thereby causing a significant myopic shift.

As prevalent practices and observations stand now, and in face of rapidly changing techniques and lack of consensus regarding preferred IOL formulae in children, there exists the need for improved IOL power calculations in pediatric cataract surgery, especially in children of younger age and smaller eyes.

  Need for Undercorrection Top

The prediction of long-term refractive outcomes among pediatric pseudophakes remains one of the biggest challenges in the management of pediatric cataracts. Growth of the eyeball and changing curvature of the eyeball produce a tendency for myopic shift.[24],[25] Hence, an undercorrection is usually planned at the time of surgery, and the residual refractive correction is provided by means of contact lenses or glasses. Another school of thought advocates planning an initial small undercorrection or emmetropia to allay the possibility of an initial hypermetropia which might in itself be amblyogenic. They propose to correct the phenomenon of an expected myopic shift by a possible IOL exchange or refractive surgery later in life.[26]

In spite of the lack of comparative studies between the above two approaches, undercorrection at the time of IOL implantation remains the widely accepted and practiced approach. Among the proponents of undercorrection, two of the most popular (guidelines were those proposed by Enyedi et al.[25] and Dahan and Drusedau.[27] Dahan proposed implantation of IOL which is 20% less than the emmetropic IOL power for children <2 years of age and 10% less for children >2 years of age, to allow for myopic shift occurring during the emmetropizing process. Enyedi proposed what is popularly known as “the rule of 7,” where the sum of postoperative refractive goal and age of the child is 7, and target refraction is decided accordingly: +6 for a 1-year-old, +5 for a 2-year-old, +4 for a 3-year-old, +3 for a 4-year-old, +2 for a 5-year-old, +1 for a 6-year-old, plano for a 7-year-old, and −1–−2 for patients >8 years of age [Table 2] and [Table 3].
Table 2: Desired postoperative target refraction for different age groups according to Enyadi et al.

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Table 3: Desired postoperative target refraction for different age groups according to Trivedi and Wilson

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Chen[26] and companions recommended matching of the IOL power based on the spherical equivalent of the other eye (children 2–4 years, 1.25 diopters less power than SE of the fellow eye) and, in children >4 years of age, match the spherical equivalent refraction of the fellow eye.

Multiple recommendation tables have been published by experts and pediatric ophthalmologists to guide surgeons in selecting IOL power in children, including those by Plager et al.[28] and Trivedi and Wilson.[29]

In our practice, we follow guidelines set out by Trivedi and Wilson.

A retrospective observational study conducted by Sachdeva et al.[30] on 84 eyes of 56 children who had undergone undercorrection according to Enyedi et al. and were followed up in the long term showed that most children achieved an acceptable final refractive error. Myopic shift was seen highest in the youngest age group (0–2 years of age) and least in 4–7 years of age group. Multivariate analysis suggests that the most important factor which might influence the results is the age at surgery, with reduction in error by 0.31 with every passing year.

Apart from a fixed undercorrection, some authors like McClatchey[10] aimed to develop a computer-based software to predict the refractive error of the children undergoing cataract surgery in both aphakia and pseudophakia, called the pediatric IOL calculator. He also proposed a table outlining expected postoperative target refraction based on the age.[31] Pediatric IOL calculator[11] was open-access computer program which was written for Windows and was based on average eyes and refractive changes, and this did not entertain the “outliers.” It calculates the initial refraction planned based on the keratometry, AL and IOL, and the Holladay formula and was found to give good predictions in initial trials in pseudophakic children and older children.

Jasman et al.[32] conducted a comparative study of 31 eyes (24 patients) among children under 12 years of age that underwent cataract surgery and IOL implantations. Patients were randomized into two groups: SRK II group and pediatric IOL calculator group. At the end of 3-month follow-up, no statistically significant differences were found in PE and accuracy of predictability of postoperative refraction between the two groups, hence proving the IOL calculator as a new tool in predicting refractive outcomes. Nevertheless, caution has to be exercised while using the same as very few studies regarding the pediatric IOL calculator are available and the above study is based on a very small sample size.

  Myopic Shift Top

The phenomenon of myopic shift is often discussed in the context of age at surgery, initial AL, and laterality of the cataract.

A retrospective cohort study by Valera Cornejo and Flores Boza,[33] over a period of 3 years following cataract surgery and IOL implantation, demonstrated no statistically significant difference between initial AL and myopic shift. The same study showed a greater tendency toward myopic shift in the eyes with bilateral cataract and shorter initial AL; these findings were in support to a study by Trivedi and Wilson.[34] It also demonstrated a significant relation between laterality and the shift, with statistically significant occurrence in unilateral eyes as compared to bilateral ones. Kora et al.,[35] Vasavada et al.,[36] and Hoevenaars et al.[37] concurred with the above findings in independent studies. Many authors have reported that the greatest myopic shift occurs in the early years of life, at younger than 2 years of age.

Children enrolled in the Infant Aphakia Treatment Study who underwent IOL implantation were evaluated for the refractive changes at 5 years of age. It showed that the rate of myopic shift occurs most rapidly during the first 1.5 years of life. It was suggested that for a goal of emmetropia by 5 years, then the immediate postoperative hypermetropic targets should be +10.5 D at 4–6 weeks and +8.50 D from 7 weeks to 6 months.[38]

Another surgical innovation proposed by Wilson et al.[39] is the concept of pediatric polypseudophakia or the pediatric piggyback IOL, which involves an in the bag placement of IOL along with a second “piggyback” lens in the sulcus, both of which may be calculated using a piggyback pediatric IOL calculator.[40] As the child attains emmetropia or myopic shift, the piggyback IOL, accounting for 20% of the total power, can be removed,[41] to provide a more emmetropic refraction. Other technological breakthroughs such as mechanically adjustable or light adjustable IOLs which are being tested among adults have not yet come into pediatric practice.

  Rehabilitation Top

Socioeconomic situation, educational status, and parental concerns are factors to be taken into consideration while planning rehabilitation in pediatric pseudophakes and attempts must be made to involve parents and provide first-hand knowledge of various aspects pertaining to the child's well-being such as use of glasses, amblyopia therapy if needed, and need for regular visits to the doctor. The choice of spectacles or contact lenses may be given to the parents, but spectacles are advocated in most cases in view of safety.

In the age of newer and evolving instrumentation and scientific techniques and IOL often times being implantated in younger children; studies on the ideal postoperative refractive state and novel approaches to a dynamic refractive solution appear to be need of the hour.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Andreo LK, Wilson ME, Saunders RA. Predictive value of regression and theoretical IOL formulas in pediatric intraocular lens implantation. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus 1997;34:240-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
McClatchey SK, Hofmeister EM. The optics of aphakic and pseudophakic eyes in childhood. Surv Ophthalmol 2010;55:174-82.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Trivedi RH, Wilson ME. Axial length measurements by contact and immersion techniques in pediatric eyes with cataract. Ophthalmology 2011;118:498-502.  Back to cited text no. 6
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McClatchey SK. Intraocular lens calculator for childhood cataract. J Cataract Refract Surg 1998;24:1125-9.  Back to cited text no. 10
Gordon RA, Donzis PB. Refractive development of the human eye. Arch Ophthalmol 1985;103:785-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Mezer E, Rootman DS, Abdolell M, Levin AV. Early postoperative refractive outcomes of pediatric intraocular lens implantation. J Cataract Refract Surg 2004;30:603-10.  Back to cited text no. 12
Nihalani BR, VanderVeen DK. Comparison of intraocular lens power calculation formulae in pediatric eyes. Ophthalmology 2010;117:1493-9.  Back to cited text no. 13
Hoffer KJ. The Hoffer Q formula: A comparison of theoretic and regression formulas. J Cataract Refract Surg 1993;19:700-12.  Back to cited text no. 14
Hoffer KJ. Clinical results using the Holladay 2 intraocular lens power formula. J Cataract Refract Surg 2000;26:1233-7.  Back to cited text no. 15
Gavin EA, Hammond CJ. Intraocular lens power calculation in short eyes. Eye (Lond) 2008;22:935-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
MacLaren RE, Natkunarajah M, Riaz Y, Bourne RR, Restori M, Allan BD, et al. Biometry and formula accuracy with intraocular lenses used for cataract surgery in extreme hyperopia. Am J Ophthalmol 2007;143:920-31.  Back to cited text no. 17
Neely DE, Plager DA, Borger SM, Golub RL. Accuracy of intraocular lens calculations in infants and children undergoing cataract surgery. J AAPOS 2005;9:160-5.  Back to cited text no. 18
Trivedi RH, Wilson ME, Reardon W. Accuracy of the Holladay 2 intraocular lens formula for pediatric eyes in the absence of preoperative refraction. J Cataract Refract Surg 2011;37:1239-43.  Back to cited text no. 19
Vasavada V, Shah SK, Vasavada VA, Vasavada AR, Trivedi RH, Srivastava S, et al. Comparison of IOL power calculation formulae for pediatric eyes. Eye (Lond) 2016;30:1242-50.  Back to cited text no. 20
Vanderveen DK, Trivedi RH, Nizam A, Lynn MJ, Lambert SR, Infant Aphakia Treatment Study Group. Predictability of intraocular lens power calculation formulae in infantile eyes with unilateral congenital cataract: Results from the infant aphakia treatment study. Am J Ophthalmol 2013;156:1252-6.e2.  Back to cited text no. 21
O'Gallagher MK, Lagan MA, Mulholland CP, Parker M, McGinnity G, McLoone EM, et al. Paediatric intraocular lens implants: Accuracy of lens power calculations. Eye (Lond) 2016;30:1215-20.  Back to cited text no. 22
Kekunnaya R, Gupta A, Sachdeva V, Rao HL, Vaddavalli PK, Om Prakash V, et al. Accuracy of intraocular lens power calculation formulae in children less than two years. Am J Ophthalmol 2012;154:13-9.e2.  Back to cited text no. 23
McClatchey SK, Parks MM. Myopic shift after cataract removal in childhood. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus 1997;34:88-95.  Back to cited text no. 24
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Chen KP. Intraocular lens implantation in pediatric patients. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, editors. Duane's Clinical Ophthalmology. Vol. 6. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven; 1995. p. 1-18.  Back to cited text no. 26
Dahan E, Drusedau MU. Choice of lens and dioptric power in pediatric pseudophakia. J Cataract Refract Surg 1997;23 Suppl 1:618-23.  Back to cited text no. 27
Plager DA, Kipfer H, Sprunger DT, Sondhi N, Neely DE. Refractive change in pediatric pseudophakia: 6-year follow-up. J Cataract Refract Surg 2002;28:810-5.  Back to cited text no. 28
Trivedi RH, Wilson ME. Selecting Intraocular Lens Power in Children. Eyenet Pearls. Available from: http://www.aao.org/publications/eyenet/200601/pearls.cfm. [Last accessed on 2011 Dec 17].  Back to cited text no. 29
Sachdeva V, Katukuri S, Kekunnaya R, Fernandes M, Ali MH. Validation of guidelines for undercorrection of intraocular lens power in children. Am J Ophthalmol 2017;174:17-22.  Back to cited text no. 30
McClatchey SK, Hofmeister EM. Intraocular lens power calculation for children in pediatric cataract surgery. In: Wilson ME, Trivedi RH, Pandey SK, editors. Pediatric Cataract Surgery: Techniques, Complicationand Management. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2005. p. 34.  Back to cited text no. 31
Jasman AA, Shaharuddin B, Noor RA, Ismail S, Ghani ZA, Embong Z, et al. Prediction error and accuracy of intraocular lens power calculation in pediatric patient comparing SRK II and pediatric IOL calculator. BMC Ophthalmol 2010;10:20.  Back to cited text no. 32
Valera Cornejo DA, Flores Boza A. Relationship between preoperative axial length and myopic shift over 3 years after congenital cataract surgery with primary intraocular lens implantation at the national institute of ophthalmology of Peru, 2007-2011. Clin Ophthalmol 2018;12:395-9.  Back to cited text no. 33
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Hoevenaars NE, Polling JR, Wolfs RC. Prediction error and myopic shift after intraocular lens implantation in paediatric cataract patients. Br J Ophthalmol 2011;95:1082-5.  Back to cited text no. 37
Weakley DR Jr., Lynn MJ, Dubois L, Cotsonis G, Wilson ME, Buckley EG, et al. Myopic shift 5 years after intraocular lens implantation in the infant aphakia treatment study. Ophthalmology 2017;124:822-7.  Back to cited text no. 38
Wilson ME, Peterseim MW, Englert JA, Lall-Trail JK, Elliott LA. Pseudophakia and polypseudophakia in the first year of life. J AAPOS 2001;5:238-45.  Back to cited text no. 39
Boisvert C, Beverly DT, McClatchey SK. Theoretical strategy for choosing piggyback intraocular lens powers in young children. J AAPOS 2009;13:555-7.  Back to cited text no. 40
O'Hara MA. Pediatric intraocular lens power calculations. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2012;23:388-93.  Back to cited text no. 41


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

This article has been cited by
1 Indices of refraction in children with pseudophakia predisposed to abnormal refractive error changes after congenital cataract extraction
L. S. Khamraeva,D. U. Narzullaeva,L. A. Katargina,T. B. Kruglovą
Russian Ophthalmological Journal. 2020; 13(3): 51
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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