Expert underscores importance of treating cataract in early childhood

Expert underscores importance of treating cataract in early childhood

Monday, December 10, 2018 3:47 pm


An Ophthalmologist, Dr Emeka Ossai, says treatment of cataracts in early childhood is very important for a child’s future vision, as it will reduce the possibility of long-term vision problems.

Ossai gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Enugu.

He said that the critical period for vision development is during the first few months of life, as an infant’s brain develops vision, in response to clear images.

According to him, the brain sets up abnormal visual connections if vision is blurred or distorted because of cataracts, as timely treatment in a young child will have good results, although clear vision may require years of visual rehabilitation.

He said that some infants were born with cataracts, known as congenital cataracts, adding that cataracts may develop in infants as a result of certain infections, metabolic problems or drug reactions during pregnancy.

The Ophthalmologist pointed out that most congenital cataracts were usually detected shortly after birth when an infant is examined before leaving the hospital, but sometimes, it can go unnoticed for years.

“Congenital cataracts go unnoticed mainly because young children do not usually recognise problems with their vision. However, parents may become suspicious of a problem when their child seems overly sensitive to bright lights or appears to struggle with focusing.

“Infants who are born with visually significant cataracts undergo surgery to remove the cloudy natural lens of the eye.

“However, opinions also vary about whether an artificial lens should be surgically inserted in a baby’s eye following cataract surgery because of concerns that normal eye growth and development might be hampered,” he said.

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