We recently reported a significant rate of cataract formation in infants treated with argon laser retinal photoablation for threshold retinopathy of prematurity.1 A persistent anterior tunica vasculosa lentis was present in all affected eyes, leading us to suggest that absorption of laser energy by hemoglobin in the persistent lens vasculature may have led to thermal injury of the lens and adjacent iris.
The diode laser, with longer wavelength energy (810 nm), which is minimally absorbed by hemoglobin, should decrease the risk for cataract formation if a persistent tunica vasculosa is a true risk factor. However, a report of transient lens opacities by Capone and Drack2 and documentation of a visually significant cataract in a nanophthalmic eye by Campolattaro and Lueder,3 both following diode laser photocoagulation for retinopathy of prematurity, suggest that even treatment with the diode laser poses some risk to the premature infant's lens. We report
Christiansen SP, Bradford JD. Cataract Following Diode Laser Photoablation for Retinopathy of Prematurity. Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(2):275-276. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100150277024