PURPOSE: Advances in surgical techniques allow implantation of intraocular lenses (IOL) with cataract extraction, even in young children. However, there are several challenges unique to the pediatric population that result in greater degrees of postoperative refractive error compared to adults. METHODS: Literature review of the techniques and outcomes of pediatric cataract surgery with IOL implantation. RESULTS: Pediatric cataract surgery is associated with several sources of postoperative refractive error. These include planned refractive error based on age or fellow eye status, loss of accommodation, and unexpected refractive errors due to inaccuracies in biometry technique, use of IOL power formulas based on adult normative values, and late refractive changes due to unpredictable eye growth. CONCLUSIONS: Several factors can preclude the achievement of optimal refractive status following pediatric cataract extraction with IOL implantation. There is a need for new technology to reduce postoperative refractive surprises and address refractive adjustment in a growing eye.