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Alternative namesCataract - congenital
DefinitionA congenital cataract involves clouding of the lens of the eye that is present at birth.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The number of people born with cataracts is low. Possible causes of congenital cataracts include the following:
Although many diseases and inherited disorders can lead to congenital cataracts, in most patients, no specific cause can be identified.
Signs and tests
A complete eye examination by an ophthalmologist will readily diagnose congenital cataract. The search for a possible cause may require examination by a pediatrician experienced in hereditary disorders and possible blood tests or X-rays .
The treatment involves surgical cataract removal followed by placement of an intraocular lens (IOL). Patching to force the child to use the weaker eye may be required to prevent amblyopia .
Treatment for any underlying disorder may be needed.
Cataract surgery with placement of an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is routine and usually has excellent results.
Many of the underlying diseases associated with congenital cataract have extensive involvement of multiple organs and organ systems.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your baby's health care provider if you notice that the pupil of one or both eyes appears white or cloudy.
If you have a family history of inheritable disorders that could cause congenital cataracts, consider seeking genetic counseling.
Update Date: 11/5/2002Raymond S. Douglas M.D., Ph.D. Department of Ophthalmology, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT