A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lense. Cataracts are also a normal part of the aging process, affecting nearly 22 million Americans age 40 and older. But, as we explained in our last blog, in rare cases (3:10,000) cataracts can be present at birth. This is what is known as a Congenital Cataract.
What is a Congenital Cataract?
While cataracts are normally associated with the aging process, there are instances of cataracts in newborns. These congenital cataracts can develop for a number of different reasons, including inherited tendencies, infection (such as measles or rubella), metabolic problems, diabetes, trauma, inflammation or drug reactions.
What is a Pediatric Cataract?
A pediatric cataract is one which develops in young children. This can often occur for many of the same reasons as congenital cataracts, with one exception. Roughly 40% of pediatric cataracts are caused by trauma to the eye. 33% of cases of pediatric cataracts involve undiagnosed cases of congenital cataracts.
Treating Pediatric and Congenital Cataracts
If your child is having difficulty seeing and you suspect he or she may have cataracts, contact your eye doctor – optometrist or ophthalmologist – as soon as possible. With babies and younger children, it is recommended that they see a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Will My Child Need Cataract Surgery?
If the cataract is not directly affecting your child’s quality of life – inhibiting daily activities, such as reading or viewing the blackboard in school – cataract surgery is not needed at this time. When the day comes that cataract surgery is needed, don’t worry; cataracts are very treatable. In fact, cataract surgery is not only the most frequently performed operation in the United States, with a 98% success rate it is also the most successful surgery performed in the country.
If you have any questions about Pediatric or Congenital Cataracts or wish to schedule an appointment with Anne Arundel Eye Center, please contact Board Certified Ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Kathryn Gurganus Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010 or Click Here to fill out our contact form. You can also follow AAEC on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube as well!
AAEC is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of cataracts glaucoma. Dr. Boles and his staff have helped preserve thousands of patients’ vision. They can help you too. Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, AAEC’s state-of-the-art treatment center is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.