always associated cataract with old age. Did you know, cataract can occur
in babies too?
Clouding of lens is called as 'Cataract'.
Cataracts occurring in children are called pediatric
cataract. They may be Congenital or
Pediatric cataracts occur due to some insult to the lens fibers.
The lens fibers lose their transparency and become opaque. According to the timing of
the insult, specific group of lens fibers may be affected, giving rise to
different types of cataracts.
How do I know my baby has a cataract?
The child appears to have a 'white
pupil' (Leukocoria). A squint may develop. The baby may cry if you keep
a hand over his 'good eye'. He may not be able to respond to toys held
away from him.
Genetic - due to abnormality in the
genes. Congenital cataracts run in families.
Infections occurring in the womb like due to Herpes virus, CMV, Rubella,
Metabolic diseases due to abnormal metabolism
like that of the mucopolysaccharides as in Hurler's disease.
Traumatic- due to mechanical injury
In association with developmental abnormalities like PHPV
In association with tumors like Retinoblastoma.
Idiopathic- cause not known.
The cataract blocks the light from reaching the retina either wholly or
partly. This interferes with the development of vision, in the child. The first
few years are extremely vital for development of vision. During this time if the
eye and the brain are not trained, they never will see again. Therefore
early cataract surgery is highly crucial for the child.
Children require to be anaesthetized fully for detail
examination. This is called EUA- Examination Under Anaesthesia.
Cataract surgery in children is more difficult. It has to done under
General Anaesthesia, which has its own risks, in small babies.
In children, complications are more
Putting eyedrops itself is very difficult!
Another problem is whether
intraocular lens (IOL) should be inserted, or not and what power of lens
should be used.
If IOL is not inserted, the child becomes aphakic.
(Aphakic means 'without lens'. His vision will be only about 2 feet) He requires
glasses or contact lenses for normal vision. The aphakic
glasses or contact lenses are obviously difficult to use in a child. But it is
miraculous to see how well the child adapts to them, once he is convinced of its
Type of glasses for a child -
If parents fail to take those extra pains
for their child, his vision may never develop later.
If there is cataract
in both eyes can both eyes be operated at the same time?
Both eyes are almost never operated at the
When there is cataract in both eyes, the second eye is usually operated 3-6 weeks after the
The child needs a prolonged follow up to check the visual development.
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means "Present Since Birth".
means "Develops Later in Life".