Congenital cataract surgery
What does congenital cataract surgery involve?
Congenital cataract surgery is an operation performed on children who are born with a crystalline lens that is opaque instead of clear, preventing this focusing lens from doing its job properly. It is a problem that can only be solved with surgery, through a procedure that consists of “aspirating” or removing the crystalline lens through very small incisions. Part of the vitreous gel filling the eyeball must also sometime be removed (vitrectomy, anterior).
To compensate for the lack of a crystalline lens, an intraocular lens is required to replace it artificially. However, because this surgery is normally performed at a very early age, when the child’s eye is still being formed, we do not always fit the lens during the same operation and might choose to implant it during a second surgery when the child is older. Meanwhile, special glasses or contact lenses –which the Miranza optometrists (link) adapt individually and teach the family how to wear–, provide the necessary dioptres for clear vision.
Eye diseases treated
The cataract or loss of crystalline lens transparency might be present in some children from birth, either in one or both eyes. In the case of severe opacity that makes vision difficult, we must operate as soon as possible to avoid jeopardising correct visual development during the first few months of the child’s life. Therefore, although it will depend on the criteria and assessment of the ophthalmologist, this surgery should sometimes be performed before the baby is 12 weeks old. Early intervention has proven to improve the perspectives of visual recovery.