A Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr Olubusayo Adejumo, says paediatric cataract is one of the common causes of blindness in children.
Adejumo of Marilyn Miller Centre for Child Eye Health, Eleta Eye Institute, made this disclosure in an interview on Tuesday in Ibadan.
The opthalmologist said that the practice of early detection and intervention was important to protect children from permanent blindness.
“Childhood blindness is becoming increasingly common and one of the common causes is paediatric cataract.
“Cataract causes cloudy vision and when you leave the child like that for years without attending to it, a condition called amblyopia sets in.
‘”Amblyopia is when the vision is blurred, cloudy patches in the lens can sometimes get bigger and more can develop, resulting in the child’s vision becoming increasingly affected.
“Cataract can also cause a squint, where the eyes point in different directions,’’ she said.
According to her, cataract in children may be congenital or acquired.
“Congenital cataract occurs when the lens did not form properly during the pregnancy.
“Secondary cataract is caused by many factors including genetics, eye injury, diabetes and use of steroids in children,’’ she said.
Adejumo said some symptoms of cataract included blurry vision and trouble seeing.
“When the child is very young, it can be difficult to spot signs of cataracts.
“The signs vary in each child; cataract can affect one eye or both eyes.
“Some of the symptoms are eyes that aren’t in the right position; eyes that go back and forth, up and down, and seeing a seeing a circle of light around an object,’’ she said.
She urged parents to consult a doctor immediately if they notice any difficulties in the child’s sight to prevent permanent blindness.
“Parents as well as teachers should help detect this condition in children by watching out for signs.
“When a parent notices that a particular eye looks different from the other eye, they should take the child for medical examination immediately.
According to her, the best time a parent should recognise that their child has eye condition is before the age of five,’’ she said.