Congenital Cataracts: Early Diagnosis is the Key

Congenital Cataracts: Early Diagnosis is the Key 

Congenital cataracts, also known as childhood cataracts, is a rare condition that requires swift diagnosis and expert monitoring/treatment. The condition covers a broad spectrum of severity, but the worst-case scenario can lead to blindness if not correctly treated.

The following looks at what the condition is, when it’s usually diagnosed, and the different levels of treatment depending on the individual condition.

Congenital Cataracts: all your questions answered

  • What are congenital cataracts?
  • How are congenital cataracts diagnosed?
  • My child has been diagnosed with congenital cataracts. What should I do?

What are congenital cataracts?

Congenital cataracts are birth defects that affect one or both eye lenses. If present, the lens is cloudy instead of clear, meaning that vision is affected. There are two types of congenital cataracts, syndromic and non-syndromic. 

The former occurs in parallel with other birth defects, such as heart defects, hearing defects, and other developmental disabilities. It’s often present in conjunction with Down syndrome. The second kind—non-syndromic—means that the cataracts are the sole health condition that the baby has.

The cause of congenital cataracts is still not definitively understood. But it’s believed that they might be due to: 

  • Physical trauma to the mother during pregnancy
  • Hypoglycemia during pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Infections caused by the herpes virus (genital herpes, chickenpox, cytomegalovirus)
  • Other infections, such as polio, measles, influenza, rubella, syphilis, toxoplasmosis
  • Genetic and/or chromosome changes during fetal development 

How are congenital cataracts diagnosed?

Congenital cataracts are usually diagnosed in the post-birth check at the hospital. It’s recommended that all babies are assessed for the condition as soon as possible after they’re born. The tests include: 

  • A physical examination with a device that magnifies and lights up the internal structures of the eye
  • Blood tests
  • X-rays/CT scan 

In most cases, only the physical examination is necessary. If this highlights a problem, then some or all of the others might be required.

My child has been diagnosed with congenital cataracts. What should I do? 

The first thing is not to panic. Not all congenital cataracts require treatment—very small ones won’t necessarily affect vision. However, most do require surgical treatment from a specialist pediatric ophthalmologist. This procedure will remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial one, known as an intraocular lens (IOL). In some cases, the baby might need to wear contact lenses and/or glasses. 

The surgery isn’t usually done straight away—it’s usually carried out when the baby is at least a year old. Patch therapy might be used if the eyesight is better in one eye than the other. This helps train the brain during eyesight development and can be pivotal in preventing a condition called amblyopia (lazy eye). 

Because vision is so vital to good development, other interventions might be needed to help the child learn vital skills. These are best implemented between birth and 3 years of age. This is another reason that early diagnosis of the condition is so important. Your pediatric ophthalmologist will work in conjunction with other expert health providers to ensure the child gets the right early treatment that’s needed. 

In addition, the child will need to be carefully monitored for other eye conditions, such as glaucoma. It’s believed that congenital cataracts present an increased risk for developing the condition, hence partnering with an expert who’s wholly familiar with treating postnatal, baby, and childhood eye conditions.

Contact the Modern Cataract Surgery Center for the Ultimate Congenital Treatment

Modern Cataract Surgery is a dedicated cataract treatment clinic that’s part of the world-leading West Boca Eye Center. Headed by cataract expert, Dr. Brent Bellotte, the facility is known around the globe for the provision of the best treatment for all kinds of cataracts—including congenital cataracts.

If you’re worried about your child’s eyesight or your baby has been diagnosed with cataracts, then you will, naturally, demand the ultimate treatment. At Modern Cataract Surgery, you’ll be partnering with one of the best surgeons on the planet.

Discover more at (website link) and call today for a discussion with our friendly team.


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