Glow of the Month: Congenital Cataracts

December’s “Glow of the Month” is congenital cataracts, which are present in impacted children’s eyes at birth. Abnormal lens development during pregnancy may result in congenital cataracts. Genetic disorders, infection and trauma are all factors that can contribute to abnormal lens development.

What Are Cataracts?

According to the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, cataracts are a cloudiness that occurs in the lens of the eye. The lens of the eye is usually clear and focuses light onto the retina. Depending on the size, cataracts can prevent light from reaching the retina and can restrict vision. Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes. Approximately 3 in 10,000 children suffer from cataracts.

Cataract Symptoms

According to the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, symptoms of cataracts can include any of the following:

  • Cloudiness of the eye
  • Absence of red-eye reflex, or white or yellow “glow” in pupil in flash photos
  • Lack of reaction to light
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Reduced vision

Congenital Cataracts Treatment

Congenital cataracts that are not treated can inhibit the development of vision, which can cause strabismus, or “lazy eye.” Congenital cataracts are typically treated by cataract surgery. Cataract surgery requires the physician to remove the lens of the eye, which requires either replacing the lens with an implant, or the using contact lenses. If a cataract is very small, it may not require treatment at all.

If your child shows any cataract symptoms, contact your physician for a complete eye exam.

Read about Mercy Grace, who was diagnosed with congenital cataracts at 2 weeks old.

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