Improving Your Look

Pediatric Cataracts | A Closer Look For Parents

No parent ever wants to learn that their child has something wrong that could hinder their normal development, especially when it comes to something as important as their site. However, it has been speculated that about one in every 250 children born in the United States will either be born with a cataract or develop them in early childhood, according to the Cleveland Children's Clinic. If you happen to the parent of a small child with cataracts, there is no doubt that you will have questions and concerns. Here are a few of the most prevailing questions about pediatric cataracts and the true facts you will want to know.    

Why do children develop cataracts?

There are a few different causes that can be associated with pediatric cataracts, depending on the type. Bilateral cataracts, or those that occur in both eyes, are often a hereditary problem and can also be associated with some genetic disorders. Bilateral cataracts are often congenital, forming before the child is born. Unilateral cataracts, which affect only one eye, can sometimes be relative to eye trauma and often develop in older children. In some instances, an exact cause of pediatric cataracts cannot be found.

If your child has cataracts, how will it affect his or her vision?

The severity of cataracts that your child has will affect your child's vision to different degrees. In many cases, slight cataracts will cause mild blurring and clouding, which can still be a big concern as a parent. In the most extreme cases, cataracts can cause complete loss of vision over time. It is crucial that the cataracts are diagnosed at an early age in order to prevent progression and help ensure your child gets the appropriate level of treatment.

Will your child have to have surgery for cataracts?

If your child is diagnosed with cataracts, there are several different treatment routes that may be taken and surgery will likely be at the top of the list, depending on the severity of the problem. Traditional cataract surgery involves removing the affected lens from the eye and replacing it with a synthetic version. However, in pediatric cases, some children are given contact lenses or glasses to help restore focusing power without the intraocular lens.

Early diagnosis is the key to helping a child overcome cataracts. As a parent, it is a good idea to become familiar with the signs and symptoms, such as a hazy eye appearance and a seeming inability to focus on small objects. If you learn that your child has cataracts, talk openly with a child's eye doctor (such as one from California Eye Specialists Medical Group Inc.) about your concerns and questions.