Children may be born with cataracts or develop cataracts early in life. In both cases, the cataracts may substantially interfere with visual development. If left untreated, the child may become visually handicapped due to visual loss and amblyopia.
Cataracts in children occur in approximately 1:5000 births. Not all pediatric cataracts require surgery, only those that interfere with the visual axis and visual development of the child.
In cases of small cataracts, treatment may include dilating eye drops to assist in the light reaching the affected eye's retina. In cases of larger catatacts, surgery is indicated to remove the opacity that is preventing the child from seeing. After removal of the cataract, many children will require frequent eye drops postoperatively and possible patching for amblyopia. The child may also require glasses postoperatively.