Diseases & Conditions

Pediatric Cataracts

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is opacity in eye’s lens. Normally, the lens is clear and allows light to focus on the retina. When cataracts develop, the light rays become scattered or blocked, interfering with the retinal image.

Cataracts in children (pediatric cataracts) are particularly important to diagnose and treat as they can interfere with a child’s visual neurodevelopment and cause irreversible blindness if they are significant and not addressed promptly.

What Causes Cataracts in Children?

Pediatric cataract can be from varies causes. These include

  • Gene mutation
  • Systemic disease
  • Ocular disease
  • Medication side-effect
  • Trauma
  • Developmental defect of unknown cause.

How will Cataracts Affect my Child's Vision?

If a young child has a significant cataract, irreversible blindness will occur unless the cataract is promptly treated at an early age.

How are Cataracts in Children Treated?

Surgery is typically the only option, and post-operative management is crucial.

Pediatric cataract surgery is performed using an operating microscope with the child under general anesthesia. Typically, the lens is surgically removed. Optical correction for removal of the lens may be by contact lenses or glasses. Older children may be able to have an intraocular lens.

It is important to emphasis that post-operative amblyopia (lazy eye) management is crucial. Amblyopia is the most common reason for later blindness in young children after cataract surgery. Amblyopia only responds to treatment in childhood. Pediatric ophthalmologists, orthoptists and optometrists work together to provide optimal management.

The Pediatric Eye Service within Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Eye Institute offers a range of treatment options for the full spectrum of eye disorders in children. Talk to one of our pediatric ophthalmologists to find out more.

© Copyright 2017 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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