Cataracts occur in children at birth or after. Unlike adults, cataracts in children are likely to get unnoticed, more difficult to determine and are not as common. Exact cause is still unknown. A newborn’s eye test should not be avoided, particularly if the child is premature and if there is a history of congenital cataract in the family. Cataract surgery in case of pediatric cataracts is most effective in the first month after the birth. In elder children any difficulties in reading, writing that impairs vision and should not be ignored.
Risk factors for Pediatric cataracts.
- Congenital cataract: Cataract or lens opacity at birth in children. These could be due to hereditary/genetic, metabolicg. galactosaemia or in-utero infection related conditions.
- Developmental cataracts: They are due to genetic or metabolic e.g. galactokinase deficiency conditions.
- Acquired cataracts: They are due to metabolicg. diabetes mellitus, traumatic or post radiotherapy conditions.
Most common symptoms of cataracts in children:
- Unable to see clearly / blurring
- Visible white spot in pupil.
- Improper eye alignment.
- Unusual rapid eye movements.
- No reaction to colorful stimuli or larger objects.
How eye condition in cataract surgery in children is different from adults
- Potential for amblyopia
- Unlike adults longer life span after cataract removal
- Change in axial length and corneal curvature with time
- Increased tissue reactivity and decreased scleral rigidity
- Smaller size (compared to the adult eye)
- Lenses are softer.
- Capsule is comparatively more elastic
Surgical Treatment: Cataract surgery in children is a daycare procedure. The approach changes according to the age, nature of the eye, type of cataract, onset and diagnosis etc. Sometimes surgeries are conducted under anesthetic drops or in some cases children are anesthetized with general anesthesia. In kids, eyeball growth is rapid and higher risk for possible rejection so initially contact lens are used and when the child is suitable by age and prevailing conditions are conducive only then contact lenses are replaced by IOLs.
Precautions for pediatric cataract surgery:
- After surgery
- Ensure that medication, follow up is adhered to.
- Ensure that the child takes good rest.
- Bending to pick objects is restricted.
- Due protection and care is taken for the operated eye as instructed like avoid rubbing, strain, etc.
Complications: Normally complications are more in children compared to adults. Few common ones are:
- Posterior capsular opacification
- Retinal detachment
Post operative follow up: Regular post operative test and follow ups are important for the overall visual outcome. We closely monitor your child for the visual development to detect any post operative complications. Further as the eye matures the glasses or contact lens need to be changed and the eye ware consultation details would be informed.
At Shroff Eye Care, your child would experience unmatchable highly refined surgical techniques with the vast expertise of surgeons handling pediatric surgeries of children from all age’s right from birth.
Do get in touch with us for appointment and more details.