Congenital Cataracts

Risk factors for congenital cataract development in the fetus are: metabolic disorders, infection during pregnancy, congenital rubella, Hallerman-Streiff syndrome, congenital cataracts running in the family, Marinesco-Sjogren syndrome, Down syndrome.

This condition can be recognized by parents or by doctors because of the following symptoms: the pupil is white instead of black, the baby is not able to react at moving objects around him (this happens when both eyes are affected), and abnormal eye movements. The eyes are affected or not depending on the position within the iris and cataract severity.

Some types of a cataract that are progressive and that’s why the eye should be carefully monitored. It seems that the disease is more severe when it shows up only at one eye because it develops an extremely severe form of amblyopia (“lazy eye”). This occurs when one eye is not used enough for the visual system of the brain to develop properly.

In order to diagnose this illness an examination made by an ophthalmologist is enough. Blood tests and x-rays may be also necessary.

The treatment of cataract forms in which vision is impaired, surgery is necessary. The surgery replaces the cataract affected lens with an artificial one. Statistics show that this is not a complicated surgery and that the outcome is positive. But surgery in children remains an issue because it is quite difficult to determine the lens diopter power considering that their vision is under constant development. That’s why doctors recommend for children contact lenses or glasses. The recovery after surgery is quick. It may be considered wearing a protective patch for a week or two.

There are some things that could go wrong. For instance because of the surgery, te pupil of the operated eye may not be the same size like the one from the normal eye. The new lens are never as good as the natural ones, that’s why the affected eye will always feel and be a little bit different. But in conclusion, congenital cataracts is a condition that may be treated and the patient may have a normal life.

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