Congenital cataracts are those cataracts present at birth. In this condition, the child’s lens does not develop fully. These cataracts happen due to a faulty gene or infections in the mother during pregnancy.
Some congenital cataracts affect only a small part of the eye lens. Hence, surgery is not required in such a case if the vision isn’t affected. In cases where surgery is a must, the recommended time is six weeks to three months. It may occur as a lone eye issue or other congenital disabilities.
Reasons for Congenital Cataracts
The cases of congenital cataracts due to family history are 1 in every 5 cases. But they could also be due to conditions by chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome. A chromosome is a part of a body cell that carries the gene.
During pregnancy, an infection on the mother’s part can affect the growing foetus, thus, causing a congenital cataract. Some of the significant infections include –
- Chicken Pox
- Rubella (German Measles)
- Herpes Simplex
Even if the mother goes through a trauma, has diabetes, inflammation or gets drug reactions, it may lead to congenital cataracts. One such example could be a reaction to antibiotics. Also, there may be congenital cataracts which went unnoticed until the baby was brought in for the first check-up.
Without timely intervention, the child may develop a lazy eye or amblyopia. It may further lead to nystagmus, strabismus and an inability to fix the gaze upon an object. They may affect a child’s life by affecting their personality, learning ability and appearance. Hence, surgery followed by wearing the appropriate eye aids helps the baby see and improve vision with time.
Lenses used for babies with Congenital Cataracts
- Special contact lenses to help the baby see post-surgery
- A unique plastic lens known as an Intraocular lens replaces the natural lens of the baby during the surgery
Types of Congenital Cataracts
Congenital cataracts are divided into four different types. They are –
- Nuclear cataracts: A prevalent type of cataract found in the central part of the lens.
- Cerulean cataracts: Found in both eyes of the baby but don’t cause vision problems. Bluish spots in the eye lens characterise it.
- Anterior Polar cataracts: They’re often inherited; many are small and present in the front part of the eye lens. The small ones don’t require surgical intervention.
- Posterior Polar cataracts: They’re well-defined opacifications appearing in the back part of the eye lens.
Hence, congenital cataracts are a condition which needs to be well-diagnosed and treated as per the seriousness of the condition. Timely intervention is the best solution.
If your baby is displaying symptoms of a cataract or you don’t feel good about the baby’s eyes, please contact us without hesitation. Maxivision is the leading eye hospital in Hyderabad with a highly skilled team of paediatric eye specialists. You can always count on us!