Congenital Factors

Many of the cases of congenital cataract seen in ophthalmic practice are inherited. Sometimes there is a dominant family history and there are many other possible associated defects, some of which fit into named syndromes. Acquired congenital cataract can result from maternal rubella infection during the first trimester of pregnancy. The association of deafness, congenital heart lesions and cataract must always be borne in mind. The ophthalmic house surgeon must take special care when examining the congenital cataract case preoperatively and likewise, the paediatric house surgeon must bear in mind that congenital cataracts might be overlooked, especially if they are not severe. Sometimes the cataracts can be slight at birth and gradually progress subsequently, or sometimes they can remain stationary until later years.

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