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Cataracts in Children

A cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 is a condition defined as painless clouding or opacity Opacity Imaging of the Lungs and Pleura of the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy. Cataracts cause visual impairment, as the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy provides part of the eye’s refractive power Power The probability that a test will correctly reject a false null hypothesis. Statistical Tests and Data Representation. The condition is one of the most common causes of pediatric blindness Blindness The inability to see or the loss or absence of perception of visual stimuli. This condition may be the result of eye diseases; optic nerve diseases; optic chiasm diseases; or brain diseases affecting the visual pathways or occipital lobe. Retinopathy of Prematurity. Cataracts can be present from birth ( congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis) or can develop after infancy (acquired). Genetic mutations Genetic Mutations Carcinogenesis, systemic diseases, trauma, and medications can lead to cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 development. Children present with an abnormal red reflex, leukocoria, or decreased visual acuity Visual Acuity Clarity or sharpness of ocular vision or the ability of the eye to see fine details. Visual acuity depends on the functions of retina, neuronal transmission, and the interpretative ability of the brain. Normal visual acuity is expressed as 20/20 indicating that one can see at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity can also be influenced by brightness, color, and contrast. Ophthalmic Exam. An ophthalmologic examination reveals the morphology and location of the cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2. Management depends on age of presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor and visual defects. When opacity Opacity Imaging of the Lungs and Pleura is of a certain size or is causing visual impairment, strabismus Strabismus Strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes while fixating the gaze on an object. Strabismus can be idiopathic, but it may also be caused by cerebral palsy, uncorrected refractive errors, and extraocular muscle or cranial nerve dysfunction. Strabismus, and nystagmus Nystagmus Involuntary movements of the eye that are divided into two types, jerk and pendular. Jerk nystagmus has a slow phase in one direction followed by a corrective fast phase in the opposite direction, and is usually caused by central or peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Pendular nystagmus features oscillations that are of equal velocity in both directions and this condition is often associated with visual loss early in life. Albinism, cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 surgery is recommended.

Last updated: Jan 8, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

A cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 is a painless opacity Opacity Imaging of the Lungs and Pleura of the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy that disrupts the light projecting onto the retina Retina The ten-layered nervous tissue membrane of the eye. It is continuous with the optic nerve and receives images of external objects and transmits visual impulses to the brain. Its outer surface is in contact with the choroid and the inner surface with the vitreous body. The outermost layer is pigmented, whereas the inner nine layers are transparent. Eye: Anatomy, resulting in a clouding of vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam. Cataracts can cause partial or total blindness Blindness The inability to see or the loss or absence of perception of visual stimuli. This condition may be the result of eye diseases; optic nerve diseases; optic chiasm diseases; or brain diseases affecting the visual pathways or occipital lobe. Retinopathy of Prematurity.

Epidemiology

  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency
    • 1–15 per 10,000 children
    • Higher in low-income countries
  • Around 15% of pediatric blindness Blindness The inability to see or the loss or absence of perception of visual stimuli. This condition may be the result of eye diseases; optic nerve diseases; optic chiasm diseases; or brain diseases affecting the visual pathways or occipital lobe. Retinopathy of Prematurity is due to cataracts.
  • ⅓ are inherited cases, another ⅓ are due to systemic diseases, and the rest are idiopathic Idiopathic Dermatomyositis.

Anatomy

Lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy:

  • Part of the eye’s refractive media
  • Transparent structure made of fibers
    • Lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy fibers:
      • Cortex: outer part; made up of younger fibers
      • Nucleus Nucleus Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (cell nucleolus). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. The Cell: Organelles: deep part; made up of older fibers
    • Lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy epithelium Epithelium The epithelium is a complex of specialized cellular organizations arranged into sheets and lining cavities and covering the surfaces of the body. The cells exhibit polarity, having an apical and a basal pole. Structures important for the epithelial integrity and function involve the basement membrane, the semipermeable sheet on which the cells rest, and interdigitations, as well as cellular junctions. Surface Epithelium: Histology: between fibers and anterior capsule Capsule An envelope of loose gel surrounding a bacterial cell which is associated with the virulence of pathogenic bacteria. Some capsules have a well-defined border, whereas others form a slime layer that trails off into the medium. Most capsules consist of relatively simple polysaccharides but there are some bacteria whose capsules are made of polypeptides. Bacteroides 
    • Lens capsule Lens Capsule Cataracts in Adults: outermost layer (anterior and posterior)
  • Essential for proper visual development (which occurs from birth to 8 years of age)
Essential anatomy of the eye diagram

This image displays the essential anatomy of the eye. In cataracts, there is clouding of the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy, which opacifies the light as it projects to the retina Retina The ten-layered nervous tissue membrane of the eye. It is continuous with the optic nerve and receives images of external objects and transmits visual impulses to the brain. Its outer surface is in contact with the choroid and the inner surface with the vitreous body. The outermost layer is pigmented, whereas the inner nine layers are transparent. Eye: Anatomy; this leads to reduced vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam, particularly at night when light levels are low.

Image by Lecturio.

Etiology and Pathophysiology

Cataracts by age of onset

  • Congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis/infantile
    • Onset at birth
    • Recognition of cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 at a later age does not exclude congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis onset. 
  • Acquired/juvenile
    • Onset in childhood (after infancy)

Cataracts by etiology

  • Genetic:
    • Mutations in genes that code for the lens structure
    • Most are autosomal dominant.
  • Disease-associated: 
    • Ocular conditions:
      • Uveitis
      • Retinopathy of prematurity
      • Persistent fetal vasculature
    • Galactose metabolism disorders
      • Classic galactosemia (“oil droplet” cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2) and galactokinase deficiency
      • Galactose Galactose An aldohexose that occurs naturally in the d-form in lactose, cerebrosides, gangliosides, and mucoproteins. Deficiency of galactosyl-1-phosphate uridyltransferase causes an error in galactose metabolism called galactosemia, resulting in elevations of galactose in the blood. Lactose Intolerance is processed by aldose Aldose Basics of Carbohydrates reductase to galactitol in the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy.
      • galactose Galactose An aldohexose that occurs naturally in the d-form in lactose, cerebrosides, gangliosides, and mucoproteins. Deficiency of galactosyl-1-phosphate uridyltransferase causes an error in galactose metabolism called galactosemia, resulting in elevations of galactose in the blood. Lactose Intolerance → ↑ galactitol → ↑ osmolarity Osmolarity The concentration of osmotically active particles in solution expressed in terms of osmoles of solute per liter of solution. Osmolality is expressed in terms of osmoles of solute per kilogram of solvent. Hypernatremia and fluid accumulation in the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy → cataracts
    • Dermatologic syndromes
    • Endocrine disease:
      • Diabetes Diabetes Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus mellitus
      • Hypoparathyroidism Hypoparathyroidism Hypoparathyroidism is defined as reduced parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels due to poor function of the parathyroid glands. The cause of hypoparathyroidism is most commonly iatrogenic following neck surgery, but it can also be associated with genetic or autoimmune disorders as well as infiltrative diseases causing destruction of the normal parathyroid tissue. Hypoparathyroidism
    • Chromosomal anomalies:
      • Trisomies: 13, 18, and 21
      • Turner’s syndrome
    • Intrauterine infection:
      • TORCH (Toxoplasmosis, Other agents, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes simplex)
      • Other: syphilis Syphilis Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum pallidum (T. p. pallidum), which is usually spread through sexual contact. Syphilis has 4 clinical stages: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Syphilis, varicella zoster, parvovirus B19 Parvovirus B19 Primate erythroparvovirus 1 (generally referred to as parvovirus B19, B19 virus, or sometimes erythrovirus B19) ranks among the smallest DNA viruses. Parvovirus B19 is of the family Parvoviridae and genus Erythrovirus. In immunocompetent humans, parvovirus B19 classically results in erythema infectiosum (5th disease) or “slapped cheek syndrome.” Parvovirus B19
    • Other syndromes:
  • Iatrogenic Iatrogenic Any adverse condition in a patient occurring as the result of treatment by a physician, surgeon, or other health professional, especially infections acquired by a patient during the course of treatment. Anterior Cord Syndrome:
    • Corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis (systemic)
    • Radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma:
      • Cataractogenic dose (minimum): 500 rad
      • Cranial radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma: eye shield required and children undergo yearly eye exam
    • Vitrectomy Vitrectomy Removal of the whole or part of the vitreous body in treating endophthalmitis, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, intraocular foreign bodies, and some types of glaucoma. Retinal Detachment: Children who have undergone the procedure have a risk of mostly posterior subcapsular cataract Posterior Subcapsular Cataract Cataracts in Adults.
    • Laser treatment: When used for retinopathy Retinopathy Degenerative changes to the retina due to hypertension. Alport Syndrome of prematurity Prematurity Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome, thermal injury increases the risk of cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2.
  • Ocular trauma:
    • Direct trauma Direct Trauma Toddler’s Fractures ( perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis or blunt injury)
      • More common in boys
      • During play or sports-related activity
    • Electric shock Shock Shock is a life-threatening condition associated with impaired circulation that results in tissue hypoxia. The different types of shock are based on the underlying cause: distributive (↑ cardiac output (CO), ↓ systemic vascular resistance (SVR)), cardiogenic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), hypovolemic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), obstructive (↓ CO), and mixed. Types of Shock
A dense left cataract

Child who developed a left eye Left Eye Refractive Errors cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 after sustaining a lightning injury

Image: “A dense left cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2” by Division of Ophthalmology, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and the University of Cape Town, Klipfontein Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7700, South Africa. License: CC BY 3.0

Clinical Presentation

  • Parental complaint:
    • Child not following object close to face 
    • Not making eye contact (e.g., unable to recognize their mother)
    • Television viewing at close distance
  • Clinical features:
    • Leukocoria
      • White pupillary reflex
      • Pupil Pupil The pupil is the space within the eye that permits light to project onto the retina. Anatomically located in front of the lens, the pupil’s size is controlled by the surrounding iris. The pupil provides insight into the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities is “white” rather than black.
    • Decreased vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam and developmental delay
      • Child does not have usual expected visual behavior at age.
      • Learning impaired (child cannot read the blackboard)
    • Nystagmus Nystagmus Involuntary movements of the eye that are divided into two types, jerk and pendular. Jerk nystagmus has a slow phase in one direction followed by a corrective fast phase in the opposite direction, and is usually caused by central or peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Pendular nystagmus features oscillations that are of equal velocity in both directions and this condition is often associated with visual loss early in life. Albinism
      • Poor visual prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas
      • Develops by 23 months in congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis cataracts
    • Strabismus Strabismus Strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes while fixating the gaze on an object. Strabismus can be idiopathic, but it may also be caused by cerebral palsy, uncorrected refractive errors, and extraocular muscle or cranial nerve dysfunction. Strabismus
      • Abnormal alignment of the eyes; squinting
      • Associated with poor visual outcome
    • Photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache: scattering of light by the cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2
    • Other features: Extraocular symptoms depend on the presence of systemic illness or syndrome(s).

Diagnosis

Initial assessment

  • History: review patient and family risk factors
  • Vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam risk assessment Risk assessment The qualitative or quantitative estimation of the likelihood of adverse effects that may result from exposure to specified health hazards or from the absence of beneficial influences. Preoperative Care at all health maintenance visits
  • Vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam screening Screening Preoperative Care if with risk factors ( family history Family History Adult Health Maintenance of congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis cataracts, retinoblastoma Retinoblastoma Retinoblastoma is a rare tumor but the most common primary intraocular malignancy of childhood. It is believed that the condition arises from a neuronal progenitor cell. Retinoblastoma can be heritable or non-heritable. Retinoblastoma, metabolic or genetic disorders)
  • Red reflex: most sensitive method to detect cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2
  • Visual acuity Visual Acuity Clarity or sharpness of ocular vision or the ability of the eye to see fine details. Visual acuity depends on the functions of retina, neuronal transmission, and the interpretative ability of the brain. Normal visual acuity is expressed as 20/20 indicating that one can see at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity can also be influenced by brightness, color, and contrast. Ophthalmic Exam:
    • Photoscreener or autorefractor beginning at 12 months of age
    • Use age-appropriate visual assessment tools:
      • Fix and follow (up to 3 years of age)
      • Cover test
      • Snellen chart or other optotype
Eye reflex cataract in child

Red reflex is a red-orange reflection from the posterior part of the eye. The absence of this color is abnormal and could indicate a serious condition. The child in this image has a cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 in the left eye Left Eye Refractive Errors.

Image: “How to test for the red reflex” by US National Library of Medicine. License: CC BY 2.0

Ophthalmologic examination

  • Funduscopy and slit-lamp examination Slit-Lamp Examination Blepharitis
  • Performed by a pediatric ophthalmologist (may require sedation)
  • Different parts of lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy affected
  • Morphology and location can give clues to the underlying pathology:
    • Diffuse/total (entire lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy): after trauma
    • Anterior: anterior polar (often hereditary, especially if bilateral)
    • Central: fetal nuclear (central-most part of the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy); associated with microphthalmia 
    • Posterior: 
      • Posterior subcapsular (area anterior to the capsule Capsule An envelope of loose gel surrounding a bacterial cell which is associated with the virulence of pathogenic bacteria. Some capsules have a well-defined border, whereas others form a slime layer that trails off into the medium. Most capsules consist of relatively simple polysaccharides but there are some bacteria whose capsules are made of polypeptides. Bacteroides): usually acquired cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (glucocorticoid, radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma, injury)
      • Posterior: persistent fetal vasculature Persistent Fetal Vasculature Diseases of the Vitreous Body (blood supply to the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy did not disappear before birth)

Other tests

  • Ocular ultrasound: occasionally needed to check posterior segment of the eye
  • If indicated:
    • Metabolic: blood and urine Urine Liquid by-product of excretion produced in the kidneys, temporarily stored in the bladder until discharge through the urethra. Bowen Disease and Erythroplasia of Queyrat tests for specific disorder(s)
    • TORCH titers for suspected congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis infection
    • Genetic testing Genetic Testing Detection of a mutation; genotype; karyotype; or specific alleles associated with genetic traits, heritable diseases, or predisposition to a disease, or that may lead to the disease in descendants. It includes prenatal genetic testing. Myotonic Dystrophies

Management

Considerations

  • Age:
    • Increasing age means increased visual demand.
    • Earlier onset of cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 and denser opacification: ↑ risk of amblyopia Amblyopia A nonspecific term referring to impaired vision. Major subcategories include stimulus deprivation-induced amblyopia and toxic amblyopia. Stimulus deprivation-induced amblyopia is a developmental disorder of the visual cortex. A discrepancy between visual information received by the visual cortex from each eye results in abnormal cortical development. Strabismus and refractive errors may cause this condition. Toxic amblyopia is a disorder of the optic nerve which is associated with alcoholism, tobacco smoking, and other toxins and as an adverse effect of the use of some medications. Strabismus
    • Unilateral congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2: Optimal age of surgery is by 46 weeks.
    • Bilateral congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis cataracts: Optimal age of surgery is by 8 weeks (at most, 1 week apart).
  • Visual function and development: 
    • Refractive changes occur as the child grows.
    • Once lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy removal is done, loss of accommodation Accommodation Refractive Errors occurs.
    • If intraocular lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy (IOL) is not placed: bifocals needed to optimize near and distance vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam

Conservative management

  • Indications:
    • Visual acuity Visual Acuity Clarity or sharpness of ocular vision or the ability of the eye to see fine details. Visual acuity depends on the functions of retina, neuronal transmission, and the interpretative ability of the brain. Normal visual acuity is expressed as 20/20 indicating that one can see at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity can also be influenced by brightness, color, and contrast. Ophthalmic Exam better than 20/50
    • Opacity Opacity Imaging of the Lungs and Pleura < 3 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma in diameter or of partial density
    • No visual behavior problems
  •  Components of treatment:
    • Refractive errors Refractive errors By refraction, the light that enters the eye is focused onto a particular point of the retina. The main refractive components of the eye are the cornea and the lens. When the corneal curvature, the refractive power of the lens, does not match the size of the eye, ametropia or a refractive error occurs. Refractive Errors: Use contact lenses or corrective glasses. 
    • Occlusive therapy: patching eye with better vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam
    • Monitoring of progression

Cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 extraction

  • Should be performed by an experienced pediatric ophthalmologist
  • Indications:
    • Opacity Opacity Imaging of the Lungs and Pleura of > 3 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma
    • Reduced visual acuity Visual Acuity Clarity or sharpness of ocular vision or the ability of the eye to see fine details. Visual acuity depends on the functions of retina, neuronal transmission, and the interpretative ability of the brain. Normal visual acuity is expressed as 20/20 indicating that one can see at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity can also be influenced by brightness, color, and contrast. Ophthalmic Exam (20/50 or worse)
    • Decreased quality Quality Activities and programs intended to assure or improve the quality of care in either a defined medical setting or a program. The concept includes the assessment or evaluation of the quality of care; identification of problems or shortcomings in the delivery of care; designing activities to overcome these deficiencies; and follow-up monitoring to ensure effectiveness of corrective steps. Quality Measurement and Improvement of life from visual impairment
    • Onset of strabismus Strabismus Strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes while fixating the gaze on an object. Strabismus can be idiopathic, but it may also be caused by cerebral palsy, uncorrected refractive errors, and extraocular muscle or cranial nerve dysfunction. Strabismus or nystagmus Nystagmus Involuntary movements of the eye that are divided into two types, jerk and pendular. Jerk nystagmus has a slow phase in one direction followed by a corrective fast phase in the opposite direction, and is usually caused by central or peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Pendular nystagmus features oscillations that are of equal velocity in both directions and this condition is often associated with visual loss early in life. Albinism
  • Procedure involves:
    • Removal of lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy
    • Anterior vitrectomy Vitrectomy Removal of the whole or part of the vitreous body in treating endophthalmitis, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, intraocular foreign bodies, and some types of glaucoma. Retinal Detachment and posterior capsulectomy (with or without IOL placement)
    • IOL not recommended in children < 1 year of age
  • Surgery complications:
    • Secondary cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2
    • Glaucoma Glaucoma Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy characterized by typical visual field defects and optic nerve atrophy seen as optic disc cupping on examination. The acute form of glaucoma is a medical emergency. Glaucoma is often, but not always, caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma
    • Strabismus Strabismus Strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes while fixating the gaze on an object. Strabismus can be idiopathic, but it may also be caused by cerebral palsy, uncorrected refractive errors, and extraocular muscle or cranial nerve dysfunction. Strabismus
    • IOL malposition
    • Retinal detachment Retinal detachment Retinal detachment is the separation of the neurosensory retina from the retinal pigmented epithelium and choroid. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, the most common type, stems from a break in the retina, allowing fluid to accumulate in the subretinal space. Retinal Detachment
    • Endophthalmitis Endophthalmitis Endophthalmitis is an inflammatory process of the inner layers of the eye, which may be either infectious or sterile. Infectious endophthalmitis can lead to irreversible vision loss if not treated quickly. Based on the entry mode of the infectious source, endophthalmitis is divided into endogenous and exogenous types. Endophthalmitis (infection within eye; rare)

Differential Diagnosis

  • Uveitis Uveitis Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented middle layer of the eye, which comprises the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. The condition is categorized based on the site of disease; anterior uveitis is the most common. Diseases of the Uvea: an acute inflammation Acute Inflammation Inflammation of the uvea Uvea The pigmented vascular coat of the eyeball, consisting of the choroid; ciliary body; and iris, which are continuous with each other. Eye: Anatomy (middle layer of the eyeball) and of the ciliary body Ciliary body A ring of tissue extending from the scleral spur to the ora serrata of the retina. It consists of the uveal portion and the epithelial portion. The ciliary muscle is in the uveal portion and the ciliary processes are in the epithelial portion. Eye: Anatomy Uveitis Uveitis Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented middle layer of the eye, which comprises the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. The condition is categorized based on the site of disease; anterior uveitis is the most common. Diseases of the Uvea can be caused by infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease ( toxoplasmosis Toxoplasmosis Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite. Felines are the definitive host, but transmission to humans can occur through contact with cat feces or the consumption of contaminated foods. The clinical presentation and complications depend on the host’s immune status. Toxoplasma/Toxoplasmosis, toxocariasis Toxocariasis Toxocariasis is caused by the nematodes Toxocara canis and T. cati. These species frequently infect dogs and cats and are most commonly transmitted to humans via accidental ingestion of eggs through the fecal-oral route. Toxocara are not able to complete their life cycle in humans, but they do migrate to organs (including the liver, lungs, heart, brain, and eyes), where they cause inflammation and tissue damage. Toxocariasis) or can be related to systemic inflammatory disease ( rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a symmetric, inflammatory polyarthritis and chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder. Presentation occurs most commonly in middle-aged women with joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness (often in the hands). Rheumatoid Arthritis). Symptoms include blurry vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam, red eye with pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways (anterior uveitis Uveitis Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented middle layer of the eye, which comprises the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. The condition is categorized based on the site of disease; anterior uveitis is the most common. Diseases of the Uvea) or without pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways (intermediate and posterior uveitis Posterior Uveitis Diseases of the Uvea), and visual floaters Floaters Chorioretinitis ( intermediate uveitis Intermediate Uveitis Diseases of the Uvea).
  • Retinoblastoma Retinoblastoma Retinoblastoma is a rare tumor but the most common primary intraocular malignancy of childhood. It is believed that the condition arises from a neuronal progenitor cell. Retinoblastoma can be heritable or non-heritable. Retinoblastoma: the most common intraocular malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax in childhood, usually diagnosed before the age of 5. Retinoblastoma Retinoblastoma Retinoblastoma is a rare tumor but the most common primary intraocular malignancy of childhood. It is believed that the condition arises from a neuronal progenitor cell. Retinoblastoma can be heritable or non-heritable. Retinoblastoma frequently presents as an abnormal white reflection from the retina Retina The ten-layered nervous tissue membrane of the eye. It is continuous with the optic nerve and receives images of external objects and transmits visual impulses to the brain. Its outer surface is in contact with the choroid and the inner surface with the vitreous body. The outermost layer is pigmented, whereas the inner nine layers are transparent. Eye: Anatomy, called leukocoria. Other features include red eye, strabismus Strabismus Strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes while fixating the gaze on an object. Strabismus can be idiopathic, but it may also be caused by cerebral palsy, uncorrected refractive errors, and extraocular muscle or cranial nerve dysfunction. Strabismus, and nystagmus Nystagmus Involuntary movements of the eye that are divided into two types, jerk and pendular. Jerk nystagmus has a slow phase in one direction followed by a corrective fast phase in the opposite direction, and is usually caused by central or peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Pendular nystagmus features oscillations that are of equal velocity in both directions and this condition is often associated with visual loss early in life. Albinism. Ophthalmoscopic examination reveals a retinal mass Mass Three-dimensional lesion that occupies a space within the breast Imaging of the Breast. Additional imaging studies including ocular ultrasound can be used for diagnosis.
  • Retinal detachment Retinal detachment Retinal detachment is the separation of the neurosensory retina from the retinal pigmented epithelium and choroid. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, the most common type, stems from a break in the retina, allowing fluid to accumulate in the subretinal space. Retinal Detachment: separation of the retina Retina The ten-layered nervous tissue membrane of the eye. It is continuous with the optic nerve and receives images of external objects and transmits visual impulses to the brain. Its outer surface is in contact with the choroid and the inner surface with the vitreous body. The outermost layer is pigmented, whereas the inner nine layers are transparent. Eye: Anatomy from the retinal pigment epithelium Epithelium The epithelium is a complex of specialized cellular organizations arranged into sheets and lining cavities and covering the surfaces of the body. The cells exhibit polarity, having an apical and a basal pole. Structures important for the epithelial integrity and function involve the basement membrane, the semipermeable sheet on which the cells rest, and interdigitations, as well as cellular junctions. Surface Epithelium: Histology resulting in rapid photoreceptor damage. In children, this may be from trauma, retinopathy Retinopathy Degenerative changes to the retina due to hypertension. Alport Syndrome of prematurity Prematurity Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ROP), or retinal dysplasia Dysplasia Cellular Adaptation syndromes. Retinopathy Retinopathy Degenerative changes to the retina due to hypertension. Alport Syndrome of prematurity Prematurity Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome causes leukocoria in the setting of retinal detachment Retinal detachment Retinal detachment is the separation of the neurosensory retina from the retinal pigmented epithelium and choroid. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, the most common type, stems from a break in the retina, allowing fluid to accumulate in the subretinal space. Retinal Detachment.
  • Coloboma Coloboma Congenital anomaly in which some of the structures of the eye are absent due to incomplete fusion of the fetal intraocular fissure during gestation. Esophageal Atresia and Tracheoesophageal Fistula of the optic disc Optic disc The portion of the optic nerve seen in the fundus with the ophthalmoscope. It is formed by the meeting of all the retinal ganglion cell axons as they enter the optic nerve. Eye: Anatomy: a congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis abnormality due to a defect that occurs in the embryonic development of the optic nerve Optic nerve The 2nd cranial nerve which conveys visual information from the retina to the brain. The nerve carries the axons of the retinal ganglion cells which sort at the optic chiasm and continue via the optic tracts to the brain. The largest projection is to the lateral geniculate nuclei; other targets include the superior colliculi and the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Though known as the second cranial nerve, it is considered part of the central nervous system. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions. The condition has a hereditary component. Coloboma Coloboma Congenital anomaly in which some of the structures of the eye are absent due to incomplete fusion of the fetal intraocular fissure during gestation. Esophageal Atresia and Tracheoesophageal Fistula of the optic disc Optic disc The portion of the optic nerve seen in the fundus with the ophthalmoscope. It is formed by the meeting of all the retinal ganglion cell axons as they enter the optic nerve. Eye: Anatomy appears as a hollowed-out optic disc Optic disc The portion of the optic nerve seen in the fundus with the ophthalmoscope. It is formed by the meeting of all the retinal ganglion cell axons as they enter the optic nerve. Eye: Anatomy and can present as leukocoria on examination.
  • Retinopathy Retinopathy Degenerative changes to the retina due to hypertension. Alport Syndrome of prematurity Prematurity Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome: abnormal vascularization of the retina Retina The ten-layered nervous tissue membrane of the eye. It is continuous with the optic nerve and receives images of external objects and transmits visual impulses to the brain. Its outer surface is in contact with the choroid and the inner surface with the vitreous body. The outermost layer is pigmented, whereas the inner nine layers are transparent. Eye: Anatomy that occurs in premature infants Premature infants A human infant born before 37 weeks of gestation. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Injuries from hypotension Hypotension Hypotension is defined as low blood pressure, specifically < 90/60 mm Hg, and is most commonly a physiologic response. Hypotension may be mild, serious, or life threatening, depending on the cause. Hypotension or hyper- or hypoxia Hypoxia Sub-optimal oxygen levels in the ambient air of living organisms. Ischemic Cell Damage are believed to contribute to the disruption of normal retinal vessel growth. Neovascularization occurs and can cause fibrosis Fibrosis Any pathological condition where fibrous connective tissue invades any organ, usually as a consequence of inflammation or other injury. Bronchiolitis Obliterans and retinal detachment Retinal detachment Retinal detachment is the separation of the neurosensory retina from the retinal pigmented epithelium and choroid. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, the most common type, stems from a break in the retina, allowing fluid to accumulate in the subretinal space. Retinal Detachment. Leukocoria is seen in later stages of ROP.

References

  1. Khokhar, S., Pillay, P, Dhull, C., Agarwal, E., Mahabir, M., Aggarwal, P. (2017) Pediatric Cataract. Indian J Ophthalmol 65:1340-9. http://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2017/65/12/1340/219834
  2. Javadi, M. (2009). Pediatric cataract Surgery.J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 4(4): 199–200.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3498856/
  3. McCreery, K., Paysse, E., Armsby, C. (2020). Cataract in children. UpToDate. Retrieved 13 Sept 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/cataract-in-children
  4. Nizami, A., Gulani, A. (2020) Cataract. Retrieved 12 Sept 2020, fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539699/
  5. Pollreisz, A., Schmidth-Erfurth, U. (2010). Diabetic Cataract-Pathogenesis, Epidemiology and Treatment. J Ophthalmol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20634936/
  6. Wallace, D. et al. (2017). Pediatric Eye Evaluations PPP-2017. American Association of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/preferred-practice-pattern/pediatric-eye-evaluations-ppp-2017
  7. Wilson, M. (2015). Pediatric cataracts: Overview. https://www.aao.org/disease-review/pediatric-cataracts-overview

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