The eye lens concentrates the light rays that reach the retina of the eye. The lens must be clear in order to allow the rays of light to pass easily through it to the retina. In rare cases, the infant is born with an opaque lens, through which the rays of light cannot reach the retina. This condition constitutes a danger to the development of the infant's vision, and can cause the formation of amblyopia ('lazy eye").
How is congenital cataract diagnosed?
Nowadays, every newborn must undergo a screening test termed a "corneal light reflex test." This test is intended to check whether the reflection of light is equal in both eyes. When the light reflection is not equal in both eyes, one should immediately seek a comprehensive exam by a pediatric opthalmologist.
How is congenital cataract treated?
After a comprehensive exam, the pediatric ophthalmologist will assess the cataract severity. If necessary, the doctor will recommend surgery. The surgery involves removing the opaque lens, and if possible, replacing it with an artificial lens. In case an intra-ocular lens cannot be fitted, the patient will receive contact lenses or glasses after the surgery.
Important advice: one should remember that surgery is only the beginning of the road to cataract treatment. After the surgery, long-term follow-up by a pediatric ophthalmologist should be performed, in order to ensure high chances of success and prevent complications that may appear later on.