When your child is first born, you count ten fingers and ten toes and assume that everything must be okay and your child is perfectly normal. However, as a parent of a newborn, there are many different types of health issues that can show up later on down the road, one of which is pediatric cataracts. Even though not as common in babies as they are in adults, cataracts can easily affect children just the same. Here are a few of the most frequent parental questions concerning cataracts and babies.
What causes pediatric cataracts?
There are several marked reasons why children can develop cataracts early on. In many cases, the cause is hereditary, meaning either of the parents may have had early cataract issues. However, the issue can also be related to some types of infections and disease. Furthermore, some infectious diseases during pregnancy can leave an infant more prone to cataract development.
When will you know if your child has cataracts?
Cataracts are hard to detect in the beginning when your baby is just born, but will start to show up a little down the road. In most cases, if your child is going to develop cataracts, they will be noticeable within the first few years of life. Parents play a crucial role in diagnosing cataracts early because they are consistently with the child and will likely notice if their vision is not developing properly. For example, your child may have difficulty grasping small objects or become easily frustrated when trying to see in low light.
Is treatment for babies with cataracts the same as it is for adults?
Treatment for children with cataracts can be much different than what you would expect as an adult. When an adult goes in for cataract surgery, the affected lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic version that clears up the vision. This is not possible in little eyes that are still growing and developing; therefore, the synthetic lens is usually eliminated from the surgical procedure. Instead, your child may have to wear special glasses or ultra soft contact lenses until the eye further develops and grows to its normal, larger size.
Seeing your child struggle with any form of health issue is always difficult, but with the proper treatment and early diagnosis, you can easily help your child live a fulfilling life with their vision. If you would like to know more about babies and cataracts, talk to a pediatric optometrist for more information.