Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Congenital Cataract

Last June 10, 2011, my eldest son was submitted to cataract surgery due to his congenital cataract that affected his left eye. For 3 years of his life, his left eye was blinded by the cataract and left him with only one eye to see. I could tell that he was having a hard time watching TV or looking at things because he was tilting his head to see clearly or rubbing his left eye in hopes of seeing clearly. Until that day, when we’ve finally brought him to the hospital for his scheduled operation after a series of checkups, after treating his primary Koch’s infection, and after earning the money that was needed to pursue the operation. We’re so glad that finally, he can see each and everyday with two clear eyes. I would like to share what is a congenital cataract, its causes and its treatment.

What is a cataract?
  • ·         It is a marked opacity of the lens.
  • ·         May be present at birth, or become apparent in early childhood

What are its causes?
  • ·         Steroid use
  • ·         Radiation exposure
  • ·         Galactosemia (inability to metabolize the lactose in milk)
  • ·         Rubella Virus (if the mother contracted the infection on the first trimester of her pregnancy)

Signs and Symptoms
  • ·         The pupil opening appears to be white (leukocoria)
  • ·         Older children may report blurred vision
  • ·         In infants, this could be detected by lack of response to a smile or inability to grasp or reach a nearby object.

Therapeutic management
  • ·         Surgical removal of the affected lens, followed by the insertion of internal intraocular lens
  • ·         Surgery should be done as early as 3 months of age. If not done before 6 months of age, amblyopia may result.
  • ·         After the surgery, introducing of fluids and food should be done cautiously to avoid or prevent vomiting as this may increase intraocular pressure (the pressure in the eye) and may injure the suture line in the eyes.

 source: Maternal and Child Health Nursing, 5th ed.2007 (Adele Pilliteri PhD, RN, PNP)

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