Tip 43: congenital cataracts

Absence of a red reflex is an important finding on newborn examination and could be caused by congenital cataracts (incidence 2.5/10,000).

The most common cause is idiopathic (40-50%) but they are also linked to trisomy 21, viral or parasitic intrauterine infections (mainly rubella) and maternal steroids. Early detection and treatment (<6-8 weeks) is vital to minimize potential visual loss.

Reference: Lloyd, I. C., Goss-Sampson, M., Jeffrey, B. G., Kriss, A., Russell-Eggitt, I., Taylor, D., 1992. Neonatal cataract: aetiology, pathogenesis and management. Eye (1992) 6, 184–196.

First published: 10/02/14, 04/11/14, 30/07/15

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