COMMON CONGENITAL EYE DISORDERS

COMMON CONGENITAL EYE DISORDERS

COMMON CONGENITAL EYE DISORDERS by Dr Mariam Afolabi (O.D)

  • Congenital Cataracts

A congenital cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and is present at birth. An infantile cataract develops in the first year of life. However, since many cases of congenital cataracts are not detected at birth, and are discovered within the first year of life, these two names refer to the same eye disease and are commonly used interchangeably by eye doctors. Congenital cataracts require early intervention to prevent the development of other vision problems such as amblyopia, or “lazy eye”. If the cataract is severe, surgery during infancy will be recommended to restore normal vision development and prevent vision problems such as amblyopia.

  • Congenital and Paediatric Glaucoma

Congenital and paediatric glaucoma is a rare condition that presents in 2 out of 100,000 newborns and children and is caused by high pressure within the eye.  The high pressure is caused by a defect in the drainage angle in the eye— which inhibits the aqueous fluid from efficiently draining out of the eye. High ocular pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to permanent vision loss.

Symptoms include:

Cloudy cornea

Redness of the eye

Light sensitivity

Watery eyes

Frequent blinking

  • Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a rare form of ocular cancer that occurs in 1 out of 14,000 – 18,000 live births. In many cases, the first sign of the cancer is a cross-eyed appearance or one or both pupils appear white instead of red in pictures. While there are many reasons for pupils to appear white in flash photographs, this cancer should be ruled out through a thorough eye exam. If a tumour is discovered, the eye is generally removed. It is important to note that this form of cancer is highly inheritable— if retinoblastoma runs in the family, it is crucial to bring your child for regular eye exams to ensure monitoring of healthy ocular development.

  • Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) 

Retinopathy of prematurity, also called retrolental fibroplasia (RLF) and Terry syndrome, is a disease that affects babies that are born prematurely, before 32 gestational weeks, and have been given oxygen therapy for premature lung development. Retinopathy of prematurity is a progressive eye disease, caused by abnormal development of retinal blood vessels that can cause vision-threatening complications such as:

Myopia (near-sightedness)

Strabismus (eye misalignment)

Cataract (clouding of eye lens)

Retinal detachment (causes blindness)

While most infants show spontaneous improvements, in more severe cases, infants will require laser treatment.

 

 

 

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