Pediatric Cataracts

Usually, you hear about cataracts as an eye problem that older people deal with.  However, cataracts can also happen in children for various reasons.  A cataract is any situation in which the normally clear lens in the eye gets cloudy.  This could happen from birth and result from a developmental abnormality of the eye, an infection that occurred during pregnancy, or a hereditary condition where an abnormal gene carried in the family causes cataracts.  Cataracts could also form later in childhood due to eye injuries or other eye or systemic diseases. 

Some cataracts might be very mild and not affect vision that significantly.  In these cases, we will carefully monitor the cataract to ensure it is not causing problems.  On the other hand, if a cataract is severe enough that it is impacting the child’s vision, then they may need cataract surgery.  This can be an urgent situation for the younger child because the resulting blurry vision could cause amblyopia, which can possibly result in life-long vision loss by preventing the brain from properly learning how to use the eye.

Treatment Options

When necessary pediatric cataract surgery can be performed to remove the cloudy lens much the same way as it is done in older adults.  An artificial lens implant can then be placed inside the eye, although we often need to leave babies without a lens implant.  After cataract surgery, the child may need treatment with glasses, contact lenses, or eye patching to help aid their visual recovery.  Here at Spokane Eye Clinic, both of our pediatric ophthalmologists perform small incision cataract surgery for children when necessary.


To schedule an appointment, call (509) 456-0107