Congenital cataracts occur at birth when the child’s lens does not fully develop. A faulty gene or infections in the mother during pregnancy cause these cataracts.
In some cases only a small part of the eye lens, congenital cataracts affect . If the vision remains unaffected, surgery is not required in such cases. When surgery is necessary, it is typically recommended within six weeks to three months. Congenital cataracts may occur as a standalone eye issue or alongside 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
Various factors such as maternal trauma, diabetes, inflammation, or drug reactions can potentially lead to congenital cataracts. For instance, a reaction to antibiotics could be one such example. Additionally, there might be instances where congenital cataracts go unnoticed until the baby’s first check-up.
If left untreated, the child may develop a lazy eye or amblyopia. This can further result in conditions such as nystagmus, strabismus, and an inability to focus on objects. These conditions can significantly impact a child’s personality, learning abilities, and appearance. Therefore, performing surgery and providing appropriate eye aids can help the baby regain vision and improve over 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!