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The Secret Life of the Brain
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Episode 1: The Baby's Brain - Infant Cataracts FAQ
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8. After a successful operation, how long until normal vision is restored?

This depends on how long the cataract was there and how old the child is. If the child is less the 7-9 years old, and the cataract has been there for a long time, it will take longer for the brain to re-learn how to use the cataract eye. In fact, if the cataract has been there too long, particularly in the first month or two of life, it may be impossible for the brain to re-learn to restore vision fully. This is why early detection and treatment is essential.

However, particularly in older children, if a cataract comes on suddenly (e.g. trauma) and is removed promptly, vision restoration can be achieved in just a few weeks if not shorter.

9. When the infant has grown, will there be more of a chance they will require glasses or their vision will get worse faster?

After cataract surgery, some type of glasses is often necessary. If there is no lens implant performed, then a contact lens or glasses is required to replace the natural strength of the eye's lens that was removed at surgery. Even when an artificial lens implant is performed, the strength of the implant may not be perfect and glasses will be needed to help focus the eye. Implants also require glasses for up close vision. Most importantly, as the eye grows, so does the glasses prescription. Therefore, it is impossible to predict for any given child, what degree of glasses they will need as they get older. However, having cataract surgery does not make the need for glasses change any faster from year to year.

10. How common are infant cataracts?

The incidence of cataracts in children is estimated to be between 1 in 4,000 and 1 in 10,000.


Answers to this FAQ provided by Dr. Alex V. Levin of the University of Toronto.


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