Congenital Cataracts: Understanding How It Affects Babies

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congenital cataracts

Congenital cataracts is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Although this type of cataract is mostly associated with aging, it can occur in newborn babies. For babies, congenital cataracts can be caused by many factors including drug reactions, metabolic problems, infection, diabetes, trauma, and inherited tendencies. In some cases, the condition can be caused by treatments administered to the mother during pregnancy such as the use of antibiotics such as tetracycline for treating infections.

A baby can also develop a congenital cataract as a result of the mother being infected during pregnancy. Some of the infections that can cause congenital cataract includes measles or rubella,  herpes simplex, syphilis rubeola, cytomegalovirus, herpes zoster, chicken pox, poliomyelitis, influenza, and many others.

For older babies, pediatric cataracts are often caused by trauma associated with events such as a blow to the eye.


Are There Different Types of Congenital Cataracts?
Yes, cataracts (and congenital cataracts) comes in different forms, depending on the area of the eye that is affected and the degree to which the child is affected. Let’s look at some of them:

Anterior Polar Cataracts: As the name suggests, anterior polar cataract affects the front part of the eye’s lens. This type of cataract is usually caused by inherited traits and are often considered too minor to require surgical intervention.


Posterior Polar Cataracts: Unlike the anterior polar cataract, this type of cataract affects the back portion of the eye’s lens.


Nuclear Cataracts: This type of cataract affect the central part of the lens and are a very common form of congenital cataracts.


Cerulean Cataracts: Cerulean cataracts can be transferred from parents to their babies and usually affect both eyes of an affected infant. This type of cataracts are usually characterized by small, bluish dots in the eye lens but does not cause vision problems for the child.


Is Treatment Necessary For Congenital Cataracts?
Not in all cases! There are cases where cataracts do not cause vision loss to the affected baby. However, it is very important to maintain a regular visit to an eye specialist to ensure that any further deterioration is quickly spotted and corrected.

That said, applying any form of surgery to treating congenital or pediatric cataracts is not usually encouraged, except in cases where leaving it will cause more damage to the child’s vision. For more information about treating congenital or pediatric cataracts, please feel free to visit our clinic today.

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