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Cataracts in Children - Topic Overview

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Some types of cataracts in children require more urgent treatment than other types:

  • Large, dense cataracts present from birth in the middle of the lens that affect only one eye are more likely to cause permanent vision loss. These cataracts need early diagnosis. And they will most likely need to be removed promptly.
  • Smaller cataracts that are not causing significant vision loss and are in only one eye may be treated by patching the good eye. This strengthens sight in the eye with the cataract. Eyedrops that enlarge (dilate) the pupil may also be used to increase the amount of light getting into the eye. These treatments may prevent loss of vision until surgery can be done, if surgery is needed.
  • Cataracts present from birth that cover only part of the lens and that are in both eyes are least likely to cause blindness. These cataracts may only need to be checked often by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) to see whether they are getting larger.

Call your child's doctor if:

  • Your baby does not look directly at or respond readily to faces or large, colorful objects by age 2 to 3 months.
  • Your child scowls, squints, or shields his or her eyes more than expected when in sunlight.
  • Light seems to hurt your child's eyes.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 24, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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