Normally cataracts are seen more frequently in adults due to advancing age. Some cataracts are seen in children and adults are non age-related.
Non age-related cataracts could be either unilateral or bilateral. (Unilateral cataract is when it affects one eye and bilateral cataracts are when both the eyes are affected).
Types of non age- related cataracts are:
- Congenital cataracts:
Congenital cataracts are cataracts that occur at birth. It could be hereditary or genetic. Congenital cataracts if untreated can cause permanent vision loss.The exact causes of cataracts are still unknown in most of the cases. Cataract surgery is most effective in the first month after birth.
- Other diseases and medication:
- Previous eye surgery can cause cataracts earlier.
- Metabolic disorders likeDiabetes and Galactosaemia – Those suffering from Diabeteshave high blood sugar which makes the lens of the eye swell and obstructs vision. Further posterior subcapsular cataracts and post operative inflammation are common in those having diabetes.
- Excessive use of steroids
- Ocular inflammation
- Traumatic cataracts:
Traumatic cataracts occur when the eye gets damaged due to trauma, accidents, punch causing corneal abrasions and orbital fractures.
Signs of cataracts in children:
- Inability to look directly.
- Inability to see smaller toys or objects.
- Glares make the child to squid or cover the eyes.
- Strabismus (unable to focus on the same point at the same time).
- White spot in the pupil.
Problems due to cataract in children:
- Eye wiggling (nystagmus)
- Amblyopia (lazy vision)
- Glaucoma (high eye pressure)
The first few months of an infant after birth is most critical stage in the development of vision. The deformities in the visual cortical connections can give rise to lazy eye (amblyopia) in children.
Early eye check up after birth helps in diagnosing Pediatric vision issues and enables children to get treatment and correction. Eye examinations with tests can detect cataract in children. Not all pediatric cataracts require surgery as vision develops normally nevertheless cataract surgery with general anesthesia is normally conducted wherein the natural lens are replaced with IOL on case to case basis .In some glasses or contact lens are prescribed.Post operative follow up and preoperative evaluation are essential. The kind of Pediatric cataract determines the urgency of the treatment. Long term follow up is essential for Pediatric cataracts than compared to adults.
Ensure children have adequate protection of eyeswith UV protected sun glasses while outin the sun.Pregnant women are advisable to take precautions against infectious diseases.
In case your child is a new born infant pre-screening eye test after birth isof paramount importance. Moreover tiny babies can’t say if they can see well or not.
In case of older children or adults any symptoms of cataract or difficulties in vision, do consult us early fordiagnosis and appropriate choice for treatment. With advances in treatment, your child can have an enhanced visual outcomeand safe treatment.