A cataract is cloudy of the internal lens of the eye. Typically associated with older adults, cataracts can be a pediatric issue as well. Children born with congenital cataracts may develop severe and permanent vision loss. A particularly cloudy cataract will block the formation of a clear view onto the retina of the eye. Without a clear image on the retina, the brain will not obtain good visual information of the world. Timely diagnosis and treatment are imperative in cases of particularly cloudy cataracts. Cataracts vary greatly in their amount of visual effect.
Causes of Congenital Cataract
The lens of the eye starts to form around day 21 of pregnancy, and any intrauterine abnormality then or after may effect proper eye formation. Some cases are inherited and others may be due to metabolic problems.
Treatment of Cataracts
Not all cataracts require treatment. Particularly dense cataracts require urgent treatment, whereas milder forms require simple observation to ensure that amblyopia does not occur. If surgery is indicated, a small incision is made on the eye and the cloudy lens is removed. Sometimes an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens, is inserted into the eye. With or without this lens replacement, glasses or contact lens are often prescribed to improve proper focusing.