What are Pediatric Cataracts
Cataracts, or clouding of the lenses, are common and expected with aging, but rare cases develop in babies and children. This is often called congenital, pediatric, or juvenile cataracts. Managing pediatric cataracts can be difficult, but thorough treatment is important because cataracts can lead to damage in the connections between the brain and eye, causing vision loss and even blindness. Pediatric cataracts may develop slowly and cause increasing vision difficulty with age. A comprehensive team that includes the parents, pediatrician, ophthalmologists, and low-vision rehabilitation specialists should be involved in your child’s care to provide the best results.
What Causes Pediatric Cataracts?
About half of pediatric cataract cases may be caused by mutations in genes that code for proteins involved in vision. Cataracts may also occur when the lens doesn’t form properly, possibly because of an infection during gestation, or as part of a metabolic disorder. Cataracts can also develop after eye surgery or eye injury. It’s important to closely monitor a child’s vision after a serious eye injury. Other times the cause of cataracts is never determined.
What are the Symptoms of Pediatric Cataracts?
Cataracts can make vision blurry, hazy, or less colorful. Cataracts can increase glare from lights. The eye of a person with cataracts looks white or cloudy and can reflect a white or dark pupil in photos. A child with cataracts might have light sensitivity or hold items closer to their eyes. They may also have a wandering or crossed eye. A child with untreated cataracts may struggle in school and with reading.
How are Pediatric Cataracts Diagnosed?
Pediatric cataracts may be diagnosed in the hospital right after a baby’s birth or during a screening in the pediatricians’ office. If cataracts are suspected, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist who specializes in treating cataracts. That care provider will discuss your child's symptoms and conduct a full eye exam that includes using special drops to dilate the pupil to see inside your child's eye.
During the exam, your doctor can see if your child has cataracts and determine how much of their vision is blocked.
How are Pediatric Cataracts Treated?
Most children need surgery to correct cataracts and then ongoing treatment to repair the eye-brain connection. If the child is old enough, the cloudy lens will be surgically replaced with an artificial plastic lens. After surgery, antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed. Patients normally go home the same day as surgery. Vision may be blurry, and the eyes may be itchy for a few days following surgery.
It will be critical to make sure your child sees their ophthalmologist regularly after surgery to check for common complications, such as glaucoma or amblyopia. Additionally, most children will need contact lenses or glasses to maximize their visual development.
What you can expect at the Cizik Eye Clinic
The Cizik Eye Clinic opened in 2007 and is housed in Memorial Hermann Plaza at 6400 Fannin Street. It includes dozens of exam areas, multiple operating rooms, and laser suites equipped with the most sophisticated equipment available for patient care.
People travel from across the country and the world for treatment at the Cizik Eye Clinic, in part because our affiliation with the University of Texas Medical School at Houston provides unmatched resources and expertise. Our friendly staff works diligently to make your visit pleasant and efficient, as we maximize patient flow through everything from routine eye exams to the most advanced eye surgeries.
Our physicians are faculty members at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and are board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. At the Cizik Eye Clinic, we understand that the eye is a small part of a whole patient who deserves top-notch, comprehensive care in a cutting-edge facility.
At Robert Cizik Eye Clinic, we offer patients access to highly specialized eye and vision care. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-9400, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.