Improving Your Look

Important Information About Cataract Surgery For Children

It is easy to associate the need for cataract surgery with older people, but unfortunately 3-4 children out of 100,000 bron in the United States each year have congenital cataracts. In addition, that statistic only represents the cataracts that can be easily seen at the time of birth. Since there are many other children born with cataracts that are diagnosed later, it's actually more of a problem than most people know.

If your child was born with cataracts, even if it was not diagnosed right away, he or she may eventually need cataract surgery in order to be able to see. Larger, more obvious cataracts require prompt treatment, while smaller and more discrete cataracts can often delay or avoid the procedure indefinitely. It is common to delay the surgery for as long as possible, in order to provide the best results for children who are still growing.

Planning For The Actual Surgery

As with adults, some children with dual cataracts will only have one removed at a time, which allows some vision during the recovery period. It is typically an out-patient procedure and most patients are allowed to return home the same day.

The exception to that is if your baby is 12 weeks of age or less, in which case observation overnight is required. Unlike adults who undergo cataract surgery, it is generally preferable to provide kids with general anesthesia, which is typically well-tolerated in children as young as one year of age.

Helping Your Child To Recover

When you get home with your child, it is a good idea to remember that the eye in question may still be dilated. Due to the limited visual function in that eye, their movements and/or depth perception may also be temporarily altered. You should expect them to wear an eye-patch for several days or longer after they are home.

You will also need to provide several different types of drops in the days or weeks following the surgery. When bathing, you should prevent them from rubbing the eye or getting it wet, and it is necessary to forbid swimming for at least two weeks after the surgery. 

Given that the surgery removed the cataract, which usually means the removal of the lens, your child will need assistance to see. They may have gotten an implant during the procedure or they will be fitted with contact lenses or glasses soon after the extraction. If your child needs corrective lenses of any type, they will need to wear them full time or there is a higher risk of continued poor vision. 

In conclusion, the surgery itself, as well as the recovery time, does not need to be scary for either you or your child, as long as you know what to expect. It has an excellent history of successful vision improvements for patients of many different ages and is very safe. To learn more about cataracts, contact a business like Alta View Eye Care Center.