Pediatric cataracts are rare, but significantly affect visual development. They must be diagnosed and treated promptly to avoid permanent visual disability. A cataract is an opacity within the lens structure that blocks visual input from reaching the retina, optic nerve and brain. If present at a young age and significant in size, it leads to deprivation amblyopia and irreversible visual impairment. Some children are born with congenital cataracts, or develop them in infancy. These patients may have a family history of congenital cataracts or may have a related metabolic or genetic condition.
Cataracts may be unilateral or bilateral, and vary in size, location within the lens and degree of severity. Some cataracts may be monitored if they are small in size, non-progressive, or outside the visual axis. Coexisting problems, such as refractive error and anisometropia may be treated initially or secondarily. If your child is diagnosed with a cataract, evaluation by a pediatric ophthalmolgist trained in pediatric cataract surgery is mandatory. Pediatric cataracts differ significantly from adult cataracts, and their management requires unique knowledge and skill.
Dr. Duss was fellowship trained at Emory Eye Center during their enrollment in IATS (the Infantile Aphakia Treatment Study), a nationally renowned research study that evaluated the role of intraocular lens placement at the time of cataract extraction. She also served as Principle Investigator for a Bausch and Lomb pediatric cataract study and is proficient in the management of congenital, acquired and traumatic cataracts, as well as lens abnormalities like ectopia lentis and Persistent Fetal Vasculature.