Congenital Cataract

What is congenital cataract?

Let us first understand what is cataract. Any opacification of natural lens present inside our eye is called as cataract. This usually occurs due to ageing process but can also occur in newborns and in the later part after birth due to various reasons.

Common Causes Are

  • 1.Any infection during pregnancy, such as measles or rubella (the most common cause), rubeola, chicken pox, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, poliomyelitis, influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, syphilis and toxoplasmosis.
  • 2. Birth injury
  • 3. Metabolic disorders
  • 4. Congenital abnormalities

Clinical presentation of this condition is usually a white reflects noticed by parents in the centre of eye, sometimes dancing eyes also called as nystagmus, and child not responding to light.
Without early intervention, congenital cataracts cause “lazy eye” or amblyopia. This condition then can lead to other eye problems such as nystagmus, strabismus and inability to fix a gaze upon objects.
When any of these problems are noticed in newborns it is of prime importance to get consultation of paediatric ophthalmologist.
Such problems can impact learning ability, personality and even appearance, ultimately affecting a child’s entire life. For these and many other reasons, make sure your child’s eyes are examined regularly and as soon as possible after your baby is born.


Not all congenital cataracts require surgery, but most of them do. Peripheral cataracts usually do not cause significant visual impairment and hence can be monitored and followed up with or without glasses. Central cataracts impair child’s vision and normal visual development which requires immediate attention and treatment. Paediatric ophthalmologist’s deal with such congenital problems and hence it is advisable to seek their consultation.

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