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Children can have cataract too

An 18 month old baby girl was brought by her mother as she noticed a bright white spot in her daughters left eye. Dr. Prachi Agashe, Pediatric Eye Surgeon and Squint specialist at Advanced Eye hospital and Institute (AEHI) near Palm Beach road Vashi, Navi Mumbai examined the baby and diagnosed her of congenital catract- cataract of new born babies.

Cataract is a defined as clouding of the lens becomes opaque. Congenital or childhood cataract can lead to blindness. About 5% to 20% of blindness cases in children is due to cataract. These childhood cataracts can eitehr be in both the eyes (bilateral) or in one eye ( unilateral). Thep rogression of cataract can be  seen depending on the severity of cataract which is seen as a small white dot or can be leave complete white opacification of the lens. 

 The cause for congenital or childhood cataract is a topic under speculation but few proven associations are genetic mutations, diseases like galactosemia, Wilson disease, hypocalcemia and diabetes. Preterm babies show a higher incidence of congenital cataract.

Childhood cataracts treatment depends on the extent of cataract and the age of the baby. The timing of the surgery is crucial for visual development. Dr. Prachi Agashe suggested the baby needs surgery as the cataract had progressed and could lead to blindness. Childhood cataract surgery isn't the same as the one employed in adults. It is more complex and needs time as the childs eye is still growing.

Pediatric Cataract surgery is constantly evolving. Taking into consideration various factors of the child eye and progress of cataract, techniques employed vary. 


Take home message:

Cataracts can affect children too therefore regular eye check up for children is beneficial. If not treated in time can lead to blindness.

Depending on the growth of cataract and age of child the techniques opted for cataract vary.


About Dr. Prachi Agashe:

Dr. Prachi Agashe, (Fellow Pediatric Ophthalmology, DNB (Ophth), (MBBS) is a Pediatric Ophthalmologist at the Advanced Eye Hospital. She has a lot of experience and expertise in dealing with children’s eye problems. Some of the eye diseases that she specialises in are Retinopathy of Prematurity, Strabismus (Squint or Crossed eyes), Childhood Cataract, Amblyopia (Lazy Eye), Blocked Tear Ducts, Refractive errors