Optometrist Questions Cataract

My nephew is 7 years old and has been diagnosed with cataract. What should we do?

My nephew is 7 years old and has been diagnosed with cataract. Is cataract possible in such small children? What does treatment consist of for such a young age?

7 Answers

Some cataracts at such a young age could affect the potential for full visual development. It would be best to seek the advice of a pediatric cataract surgeon.

Dr. Lior Koppel
Yes, congenital cataract is very quite common. Either the child lives with it or gets it surgically removed depending on the severity and effect on vision.
Yes, you can be born with cataracts. If the vision is being blocked or decreased, cataract removal surgery is done so that vision can develop normally. Typically, vision is corrected with a contact lens (yes, babies can wear contacts when medically necessary) or glasses. Once the eye grows to the proper size, a lens implant is inserted.
Childhood cataract may have been of congenital origin. If it is of new onset he should be checked for juvenile TYPE I diabetes. The cataract should be removed to prevent or aid in the correction of any lazy eye( Amblyopia) that may have developed. Whether corrected by a pseudophakic plastic lens implanted where the cataract was removed or a contact lens, correction after cataract removal is critical for binocularity, depth perception and full visual acuity ( clarity)as an adult.
Age related cataract (nuclear sclerotic) is commonly caused by sun damage. This differs from other common types of cataract: posterior/anterior subcapsular, cortical, and congenital cataracts. Congenital cataract is present from birth and is important to perform cataract surgery; otherwise, the child may have vision deprivation in that eye resulting in reduced visual acuity over the life of the patient. In other words, the macula is starved of visual stimulus; therefore, it doesn't develop properly during this critical age.
Remove the cataract and start the child on contact lenses. Daily contact applied and removed every day by the parents until patient is old enough 21-23 to get a permanent implant
Cataract surgery with a lens implant as soon as convenient!