Cataracts are rare in children, but can cause much more serious problems than in adults. Vision is very poorly developed in a newborn and requires several years of proper visual experience to develop to a normal level. It is critical that cataracts be diagnosed in a timely fashion and properly treated. Cataracts can be a sign of a systemic disease or genetic syndrome in a child, and thus further investigation into these possibilities is warranted.
If a cataract develops early in childhood, vision development may be permanently affected. Pediatric cataracts can be present at birth or may develop at any time during childhood. They can affect one or both eyes. A cataract in a child may be diagnosed by the primary care doctor at a routine well child visit, or it may present as a “lazy eye” or strabismus. An abnormal red reflex in one or both eyes can be a sign of a cataract.
Cataracts that are visually significant in a child will usually require surgery. Cataract surgery in a child typically involves general surgery, and may involve the placement of a lens implant, just as in adult cataract surgery. If a child is very young, then a lens implant may not be advisable. A high powered contact lens can be used in place of a lens implant in the case of a very young child needing cataract surgery. Glasses are another option after cataract surgery. Patching therapy will usually be needed if the cataract is in one eye only. If the cataract is diagnosed in a timely manner then visual results can be very favorable.
Wheaton Eye Clinic’s unparalleled commitment to excellence is evident in our continued growth. Today we provide world-class medical and surgical care to patients in six suburban locations—Wheaton, Naperville, Hinsdale, Plainfield, St. Charles, and Bartlett.(630) 668-8250 (800) 637-1054