Cataracts are the No. 1 cause of blindness worldwide and the top reason for loss of vision in Americans. The vast majority of cataracts develop in seniors. More than 50% of Americans have been diagnosed with a cataract or have had surgery to remove cataracts by age 80. But cataracts don’t only affect seniors.
Could your child have cataracts that hinder normal development? The answer is yes, though cataracts in children are thankfully rare. However, anyone can have cataracts, including babies, children, and adults in middle age.
Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen Khachikian has years of experience performing cataract surgery to help all patients see clearly.
Why some cataracts develop earlier
Following are categories of cataracts, which help explain some of the reasons for their development.
If your baby has cataracts, the condition is congenital. When the doctor checks your infant, if cataracts are present, the pupil is gray or white and might look as if a film is covering it.
A small number of babies have congenital cataracts, for a few reasons. Your child’s eye lens may not have developed correctly during pregnancy. Infections occurring before or just after birth can result in infant cataracts, including chickenpox, herpes, rubella, and toxoplasmosis. Premature babies may have cataracts, although the condition is rare.
People may develop secondary cataracts because of another health condition.
Diabetes is a known culprit in cataract formation. Having diabetes means your blood sugar levels are too high, which can cause changes in your eye lens that lead to cataracts. About one-third of middle-aged and older adults who have diabetes also develop cataracts.
Undergoing radiation therapy for cancer treatment means you’re more at risk of developing cataracts than someone who hasn’t had this type of radiation.
You may have had to take a steroid for a medical issue. Long term or high dose steroid use can also increase your risk for secondary cataracts.
Cataracts as a result of trauma
If you’ve had a traumatic injury to one or both eyes, you could develop a cataract. It may develop soon after the accident or years later.
Treatment for cataracts
Dr. Khachikian lets you know if surgery is needed, and he uses state-of-the-art procedures, techniques, and equipment to ensure the best outcomes.
If cataracts affect your child’s eyesight, they should be removed very soon to avoid long-term problems with vision. If only one eye has a cataract, it’s removed and your child may wear a patch on the other eye to make it stronger.
Modern cataract surgery is safe and effective for people of all ages. To ensure your eye health and that of your loved ones, call the office of Dr. Stephen Khachikian or book an appointment through our online portal today.