It isn’t necessary that cataract occurs only to adults, some infants also have cataract from the time they are born known as “Congenital cataract”. It is a progressive eye condition that affects the vision to become blurry. This is due to the faulty lens in your child’s eye where the lens does not form properly during the pregnancy. This disease can develop either in one eye or is some cases both eyes.
The congenital cataract is caused by Down syndrome which is hereditary, meaning a baby’s mom or dad may have them. In other cases, children could have developed the congenital cataract after birth. Some of the possible causes, include:
- Complications from eye problems
Congenital cataract Symptoms
Children with congenital cataract have the following symptoms:
- poor vision
- rapid uncontrolled eye movements or wobbling eyes
- the eyes pointing in different directions – known as a squint
- a white or grey pupil
Congenital cataract Diagnose
Parents should get their children’s vision checked at a very early stage that is from the time they are born. It is advisable to have a routine exam within 72 hours of their birth and again when they’re 6 to 8 weeks old. The earlier a congenital cataract is diagnosed in a child the higher are the chances of reducing the risk of long term vision problems.
To diagnose congenital cataract of infants, a complete eye exam by an ophthalmologist needs to take place. The doctor will study the baby’s eyes thoroughly, such as:
- general appearance of eyes
- movement of the eyes
- Does your baby’s eye looks cloudy
- red reflex in the pupil of their eyes using a bright light
In some cases, blood tests or x-rays are also needed.
Congenital cataract Treatment
For cataract the only treatment is to remove them through surgery. Depending on how much the cataract is developed, and to what extend is it affecting their vision, the eye surgeon will evaluate what treatment will suit your child best.
If the cataract is small and not affecting the vision, then it may not need to be removed from the eye. If it does affect ones vision then it needs to be removed through surgery. The eye surgeon will give your child general anesthesia, so that your kid will not be awake or feel anything during the operation. During this process, the eye surgeon will first break the lens, replace the faulty lens with an artificial lens known as Intraocular Lens Implant (IOL) through a very small incision.
Other options to treat pediatric cataract are: