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What Causes Congenital Cataracts?

 

Cataracts clouding the eye's natural lens usually are associated with aging processes. But congenital cataracts occur in newborn babies for many reasons that can include inherited tendencies, infection, metabolic problems, diabetes, trauma, inflammation or drug reactions.
As an example, tetracycline antibiotics used to treat infections in pregnant women have been shown to cause cataracts in newborn babies. Congenital cataracts also can occur when, during pregnancy, the mother develops infections such as measles or rubella (the most common cause), rubeola, chicken pox, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, poliomyelitis, influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, syphilis, and toxoplasmosis.
Older babies and children also can be diagnosed with cataracts, known as pediatric cataracts, for similar reasons. However, trauma associated with events such as a blow to the eye is the underlying cause in 40 percent of cases of cataracts in older children. In 33 percent of cases of pediatric cataracts, children were born with congenital cataracts that may initially have been overlooked.**
In inherited and other forms of congenital cataracts, abnormalities may occur in formation of proteins essential for maintaining transparency of the eye's natural lens.
 


 

 

 

 

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