Anterior Polar Cataracts

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I am willing to bet that most people think that cataracts can only affect people of a certain age. This is because for a long time cataract has only been associated with aging since it mainly affects older people. However, this is sometimes not the case because some cataracts even affect babies.

An anterior polar cataract makes the lens cloudy because a solid substance has a milky color covering it. This affects kids sometimes from birth and other ages, making them have vision problems growing up. Cataracts present themselves as a dot in the eye, and it is usually in the middle of the pupil. So instead of the pupil being black as usual, you will notice a tiny dot inside it, meaning that your child has been born with this type of cataract.

Although anterior polar cataracts might not need surgery for them to be treated, it is essential to note that early diagnosis and treatment are necessary to ensure you get the proper treatment for it. In addition, if it grows to be larger and covers most parts of the lens, then surgery is needed so that the lens can be replaced.
After treatment of anterior polar cataracts, your child may see clearly again. However, the child might need glasses after getting the treatment for severe cases because they may still have lazy vision. This is often a side effect of the surgery because it can cause a reflective error in the child’s eyes.

Causes of cataracts in children

Even though most people are used to seeing older adults with cataracts, it is also possible for kids to get cataracts. Several things might cause cataracts in kids:

  • Inherited: These are cataracts that have been inherited from the parents because it might be a genetic fault that affects the lens, making it develop abnormally.
  • If the mother had a condition while pregnant, it could also cause cataracts on the unborn child. In addition, infections like chickenpox or rubella can affect the child if the mother catches them while pregnant.
  • Blunt trauma can also cause cataracts, especially if the eye is hit while the kid is still younger.
  • Some genetic conditions like Down syndrome can also cause cataracts in kids.

Patients with anterior polar cataracts must see a doctor immediately to determine if they need glasses. After the treatment, the patient can get glasses to ensure that they can still see well.

Regular checkups to confirm if the cataract is not growing to make it easy for doctors to identify the right course of treatment for cataracts. This also makes it easy for the doctor to identify any problem early to treat it and see to it that it does not continue to affect other parts of the eye.

Take your child for an eye checkup at least six to eight weeks after birth so that it is easy to identify if they have an anterior polar cataract. This is because even if the child was born with cataracts, it could take time to manifest or grow to become noticeable by anyone else.

A simple test by the doctor will find out what the naked eye cannot see so that you can start treatment early. Then, when the condition is diagnosed early, you can treat it immediately so that the child can have a better chance of seeing well in the future.

If left untreated, cataracts can lead to severe issues like glaucoma development and even losing sight in the end.

Treatment of anterior polar cataracts

If the cataract is not growing, you may only need medication to treat it. However, it is necessary to have regular checkups to ensure that the doctor monitors the growth of cataracts. The ophthalmologist will recommend the proper medication for the eyes as soon as they notice cataracts in the eye.
In cases where cataracts have grown to cover a more significant part of the lens, it may need surgery to get rid of it. During the surgery, the lens is removed, and the ophthalmologist will replace it with an artificial one. After the surgery, the doctor will determine if the child will need glasses, or in some cases, you may get lenses that are also ideal for any condition you may have afterward.

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About the Author Written by Dr. Michael Shumski, M.D., M.S.E.

Dr. Shumski is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in cataract & refractive surgery at Magruder Laser Vision in central Florida.

In service for many years to treat cataract patients

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