What is Congenital Cataract and when should the infant have the surgery done?

If you are being told by the doctors that the child is having a congenital cataract, this actually means that the natural lens of the eyes is cloudy instead of clear. Vision could be hindered up to an extent that surgery may be required for the removal.


In all about 0.4% of all the baby birth, congenital cataracts are found or it develops soon. However all congenital cataracts do not require a surgical procedure, but many require a surgery. If cataracts only develop in the peripheral portion of the natural lens there is no need for removal as far as central vision remains unharmed.

When should the child have congenital cataracts surgery?

There are lots of complications and concerns in opinion regarding that when surgery should be performed on an infant. The main concern is the development of high blood pressure, which could lead to glaucoma. Another major concern is the use of anesthesia that is not good for infants.

On the other hand, it is also important to do the surgery on time so as to ensure that vision is clear enough to develop normal baby’s vision system. However, some studies reveal that the optimal time to intervene and remove congenital cataracts from baby’s eye is at the age of 6 weeks to 3 months. You can discuss the issue with the surgeon for the cataract removal.

After the removal of the cataract also one should keep in mind that artificial lens should be surgically inserted, contact lenses or eyeglasses are important correction measure that should be adopted or else child may have poor vision and normal eye development will also be hampered.

In some case, contact lenses are fitted on the eye surface which may help to restore vision. Also, eyeglasses are prescribed by the doctors in place of inserting artificial lens or contact lens.

What causes congenital cataracts?

Cataracts as a common process happen with the aging process. But congenital cataracts occur in the newborn babies for much other reason like

  • Inherited tendencies
  • Infection
  • Metabolic problems
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma
  • Inflammation
  • Drug reaction

For instance, tetracycline antibiotic used for the treatment of infection in pregnant women may show the sigh of congenital cataracts in newborn babies.

Types of congenital cataracts

  • Anterior polar cataracts
  •  Posterior polar cataracts
  • Nuclear cataracts
  • Cerulean cataracts