Clouding in your child’s eyes? It may be a cataract. A cataract is an eye condition in which your natural lens in the eye starts to become cloudy over time and affects your vision. Cataract most commonly affects people above 40, but some babies are also born with it. Cataracts are rarely found in children. They usually affect one or sometimes both eyes. Cataract in children is small and does not cause severe trouble, but if your child has a progressive cataract, it can lead to vision problems and developmental disability. Some cataracts affecting children develop at a young age and progressively increase as they age. This type of cataract is known as childhood cataract. However, there are other types, as well:
Congenital Cataract:These types of cataract are present at the time when the baby is born or the baby may get them shortly afterwards. These often affect both the eyes (bilateral).
Secondary Cataract:These are caused due to diabetes or some eye-related problems. Medicine which contains steroids can also lead to this form of cataract.
Traumatic Cataract:Formed due to an eye injury. These can occur right after the injury or maybe years later.
Radiation Cataract:These occur when your child’s eyes get exposed to some radiation.
Causes of Cataracts in ChildrenCongenital cataracts can be formed due to numerous reasons:
- It may be inherited from the parent to the child
- Passed from genetic conditions like Down’s syndrome
- It can be caused due to some eye infection, or infection picked up at the time of birth, diabetes, inflammation, drug reaction, diabetes, or metabolic problems
Symptoms of Cataracts in ChildrenIt can be present in one or both the eyes. It is important to notice signs like cloudy patches in the lens, pupils appearing white when a flashlight falls on it, cloudy and hazy vision, seeing halos around the light. Not just this cataract can cause misaligned eyes (squint) or wobbling eyes, and uncontrollable eye movements (nystagmus).
Prevention of Cataracts in Children
- It’s unlikely to prevent cataract, especially when it is inherited. So, if cataract runs in your family then make sure during pregnancy, you avoid any kind of infection, and also take your vaccinations at regular intervals.
- Taking genetic counseling can help as it will help the couples to deal with the inherited conditions.