Cataracts In The Cradle

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Monday, July 18, 2011 - 11:10am

Cataracts are associated with old age, but can cause big problems for babies as well.

You probably know an older loved one or friend with cataracts, a condition where the lens of the eye, usually clear, becomes cloudy.

Not everyone knows babies can be born with cataracts, something that needs to be treated right away.

Parker, who's almost 2, and her 7-month-old sister Shay are unusually comfortable during an eye exam.

They're used to it because they were born with cataracts.

Their father, Joe Caruso, was also born with the condition.

He and his wife Natalie say their older daughter's diagnosis was unexpected.

Dr. William Anninger of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says cataracts in babies is rare but affects thousands every year.

Parents should be on the lookout for a baby that is visually engaged.

"By around 2 or 3 months of age you want your baby to be really locking on to you, following you about the room," says Dr. Anninger.

The Caruso sisters had their cataracts surgically removed.

Dr. Anninger says if vision is impaired surgery must be done early in life.

"If you leave it in, the child will be blind in that eye, even you if you remove it for example a year age, because if you leave them with no vision for the first year of life, that eye will not be able to see," Dr. Anninger explains.

Joe and Natalie say the girls are seeing well with the help of contact lenses.
 

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