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Can Children Develop Cataracts?

Can Children Develop Cataracts?

ANSWER:

Children can develop cataracts.

More Info: Though not common, babies can be born with congenital cataracts.  An estimated one in every 10,000 babies are born with congenital cataracts which is a clouding of the lens of the eye that functions to focus light on the retina of the eye.  [“Cataracts – Causes.” University of Maryland Medical Center]

Causes of Congenital Cataracts

Though in most cases the cause of congenital cataracts is unknown, they can be caused by the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol during pregnancy, an infection during pregnancy, and inherited disorders.

The National Institute of Health identifies the following as possible causes:

  • Down syndrome
  • Congenital rubella
  • Pierre-Robin syndrome
  • Lowe syndrome
  • Conradi syndrome
  • Chondrodysplasia syndrome
  • Ectodermal dysplasia syndrome
  • Galactosemia
  • Hallerman Streiff syndrome
  • Marinesco-Sjogren syndrome
  • Trisonomy 13
  • Familial congenital cataracts

Treatment of Congenital Cataracts

Not all cases of congenital cataracts will require treatment. If the cataract is not affecting vision, it does not need to be treated.  More severe cases will require cataract surgery, which requires lens replacement.

Artificial intraocular lens replacement is a routine surgery with excellent results.

REFERENCES:

“Cataracts – Causes.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. <http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_causes_cataracts_000026_2.htm>

“Congenital cataract: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001615.htm.

Quote:  “Most people think of cataracts as something that happens to our eyes as we age, and age-related cataracts are, in fact, the most common type. But cataracts can also affect newborns and children – and when they do, they can sometimes be accompanied by special urgency and challenges.”

SourceCataracts Children’s Hospital Boston

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