Cataracts happen with the clouding of the lens of the eye. More common among adults and the elderly, children, even babies, can have cataracts. Cataracts in babies became defined as congenital cataracts while cataracts in children are called developmental, infantile, and juvenile cataracts. They are basically the same except that in congenital cataracts, the cataract is already present when the baby is born while juvenile cataracts become diagnosed when the baby is much older as they develop even at a very young age.
Cataracts in children though rare are not something to become alarmed about. In babies and children one or both eyes become affected. Also, the clouding, which causes the blurred vision, may continue to develop or grow bigger over the years. Treatment is available for both congenital cataracts and juvenile cataracts.
Diagnosis and Symptoms
Congenital cataracts become diagnosed when the newborn undergoes the newborn screening test. This is usually part of the routine eye examination in newborns. If the physician fails to diagnose cataracts during the newborn screening, it becomes detected when the baby undergoes his or her eight week old regular examination.
At this point if the cataract is not discovered during the regular screening or scheduled examination, it becomes diagnosed when the baby shows signs of poor vision. The baby may squint or may have wobbling eyes. Parents often report these symptoms to physicians. Tell your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s vision or eyes. In older babies and children, symptoms may include difficulty focusing on objects, gray or white spots in the eye, cloudy vision, double vision, lights seeming too bright and colors appear faded.
Causes of Cataracts in Children
The exact cause of cataracts cannot be determined although many reasons exist why your baby may be born with the condition or may later develop it. Some of the causes of cataracts in children are genetic, Down Syndrome, and injury to the eye. Children whose parents have vision problems are more likely to develop the condition. It is also possible for a child to develop the condition if the mother suffered from infection during pregnancy.
Although cataracts are a serious eye condition, the good news becomes that treatment is available in both congenital and juvenile cataracts. Cataracts are usually treatment with a surgery. However, the earlier the treatment, the better. In newborns and babies, treatment that is done as soon as possible results in better outcomes. This is because the cloudy vision prevents the eye in sending information to the brain. This is a very crucial time in the baby’s development. If the cataract does not become treated in time, even when the cataract is removed later, the brain may take a long time to learn to process visual information and the child will therefore be blind temporarily longer than necessary or develop limited sight. In older children, surgery may not be as urgent as it is in newborns and babies as other ways of treating the condition exist without surgery.
For more information about cataracts, you should visit Sugarland Eye & Laser Center, leading LASIK or laser eye surgery center in Houston.
Sugarland Eye & Laser Center leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The Center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS and Air Force fighter pilots. At Sugarland Eye & Laser Center, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478 or visit us at www.houston-lasik.com.
About the Author
Amjad Khokhar, M.D. is Chief LASIK Surgeon at Sugarland Eye & Laser Center. Add Dr. Khokhar on Google+ here.