CAN CHILDREN DEVELOP CATARACTS?

Dr. Jim Martin 06/29/2016

eye-exam-child-glasses.pngWhile we typically consider cataracts to be a problem that affects aging adults, it can also be a children's health issue. Cataracts aren't common in children, but when they do present themselves, treatment should be immediate to prevent more serious issues.

What Are Childhood Cataracts?

Just like those that occur with adults, childhood cataracts are cloudy spots inside the lens, behind the iris. The result is blurred vision that can range from irritating to dangerous.
 
Some children are born with cataracts while others will develop them later in life. In some cases, they are hereditary and they can be linked to genetic disorders. While cataracts can be harmless, they can also worsen over time and can be an indication of other health issues, so it's important to have a professional examination.

Catching Cataracts Early

As we age, it's normal for our eyesight to weaken slightly. However, for children, vision impairment at a young age will get in the way of healthy development at a crucial time. The brain will attempt to compensate for the blurriness, making the connection between eye and brain abnormal.

Vision is not completely developed until a child reaches the age of 8 or 9. Until then, any impairments can cause this abnormality. Over time, the abnormal connection can worsen, making the eyes weaker, and can eventually lead to blindness. Catching the problem early and correcting it can allow the eye-to-brain connection to go back to normal and prevent long-term damage.

How Are Children Treated For Cataracts?

The sooner cataracts are identified, the better. Eye care specialists can examine the eye and detect the problem. During a cataract surgery, a tiny incision is made, the cloudy lens is removed, and a lens implant is inserted to take its place.

After the surgery, eye health is monitored and precautions are taken to ensure healthy eyes throughout adolescence and into adulthood. After care will depend on how each child's eyes heal after the procedure. For some, a laser treatment can resolve future issues. For others, contacts or glasses may be needed.

Have Your Child's Eyes Checked Out

It takes a skilled eye doctor to identify cataracts in children and determine the best course of action. From performing an exam to making a recommendation for a specialist and providing follow up care, Broome Optical will ensure that your child receives the best possible care. Call today for more information and to schedule an appointment.
 
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