There are two broad types of cataracts in children
1. Cataracts caused due to injuries.
2. Congenital Cataracts (acquired by birth)
While they share the same common name "Cataract ", the presentation of Cataracts in childhood is immensely varied in form and structure. The congenital cataracts may be :
Blue dot cataract
Membranous absorbed cataract
Cataract associated with Persistent hyaloid blood vessels
Cataract with thick capsular membranes
Cataract with a pre-existing hole in the posterior capsule
Cataract with Microcornea
Cataract with Megalocornea
Subluxated Cataracts in Marfan's Syndrome
Congenital cataract with stony hard elements
..........just to name a few
Every different type of cataract challenges the doctor to showcase his skill , experience and ingenuity.
All children with cataracts are operated under General Anaesthesia by a team of expert Pediatric Anaesthesiologists. The latest anaesthesia equipment and the safest agents are used for the children.
We operate only one eye at a time . The second eye is operated after a minimum period of 1 month.
Yes . An Intraocular Lens is implanted during surgery for cataracts in children .
Generally if the lens is implanted well and if the recovery has gone well , the lens stays in place for the entire life of the child.
Yes. Most children would need to wear glasses after cataract operation and intraocular lens implantation. The spectacle power may undergo changes as the child grows up , which may need frequent changes in the glasses. When the child crosses the age of 18 years , Lasik Laser treatment may be used to even out any high spectacle numbers. Even after that some form of glasses may still be needed.
While the operation of cataract in children is a very important event , visual rehabilitation with glasses and vision stimulating processes is an equally important part of rehabilitation of children operated for cataract and lens implantation. The parents have to work very closely with a pediatric ophthalmologist who then looks after these children for many years .
Visual results in children are quite gratifying , though results vary from child to child.
For a fact , children with congenital cataracts should be operated as soon as possible . Average age of surgery in children is about the age of 7 months, though experts share widely varying opinions. Inadvertant delay may affect post operative visual improvement .However , there could be constraints regarding challenges in administering general anaesthesia in extremely young children . Hence children with extremely opaque cataracts may be operated earlier than children with incomplete cataracts.