A congenital cataract is clouding of the lens of the eye, that is present at birth. The lens of the eye is normally a clear structure, which focuses light received by the eye onto the retina.
The number of people born with cataracts is low. In most patients, no specific cause can be found. Possible causes of congenital cataracts include the following:
A complete eye examination by an ophthalmologist will readily diagnose congenital cataract. The search for a possible cause may require examination by a pediatrician experienced in hereditary disorders and possible blood tests or x-rays.
In some cases, congenital cataracts are mild and do not affect vision, and these cases require no treatment. Moderate to severe cataracts that affect vision will require cataract removal surgery, followed by placement of an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Patching to force the child to use the weaker eye may be required to prevent amblyopia.
Treatment for any underlying disorder may also be needed.
Cataract removal surgery with placement of an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is routine, and usually has excellent results.
Many of the underlying diseases associated with congenital cataract involve many organs to a great degree.
Call for an urgent appointment with your baby's health care provider if you notice that the pupil of one or both eyes appears white or cloudy.
If you have a family history of inheritable disorders that could cause congenital cataracts, consider seeking genetic counseling.
Cataract - congenital