A pediatric or childhood cataract refers to any cloudiness or opacity (whiteness) in the normally clear lens of a child’s eye. A cataract can affect a very small part of the lens or involve the entire lens.
What causes pediatric cataracts?
Cataracts in babies may be caused by abnormal development of the lens before birth. By interfering with the light ray path to the retina (back part of the eye), cataracts in children can cause abnormal vision development and may result in permanent loss of vision if pediatric cataract surgery is not performed.
How are pediatric cataracts treated?
Infantile and childhood cataracts are commonly treated with pediatric cataract surgery. Cataracts that are small and/or off-center in the lens may not need to be removed because your child’s vision can develop normally, even with the cataract. Larger cataracts or those causing major visual loss should be removed, usually via pediatric cataract surgery, as soon as it is safely possible to do so.
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A to Z: Impacted Cerumen
A to Z: Impacted Cerumen
May also be called: Ear Impaction; Ear Blockage; Earwax Blockage; Impacted Earwax; Cerumen Inspissatum
More to Know
Earwax is produced by glands in the ear canal, which leads from the outer ear to the eardrum. Earwax helps protect the ear by trapping dust and other foreign particles that could damage the ear. Normally, earwax moves toward the opening of the ear and falls out or is washed away, but some people's ears produce too much wax. The extra wax can build up and harden in the ear canal and become difficult to remove. Earwax also can become impacted when, during ear cleaning, the wax is accidentally pushed deeper into the ear canal.
Impacted cerumen can cause earaches, temporary hearing loss, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), coughing, or a feeling that the ear is full or plugged. It also can increase the risk of an outer ear infection. Impacted cerumen should be removed by a doctor to help avoid damaging the ear. Treatment options include removing the earwax with instruments or by flushing the ear canal with special liquids.
Keep in Mind
Impacted cerumen may improve on its own, but treatment by a doctor is generally safe and effective. Hearing usually returns completely after the impacted earwax is removed. Trying to remove impacted cerumen at home with a cotton swab or by ear candling is not recommended.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
Date reviewed: September 05, 2017