Cataracts are usually thought to affect older people, but children can also develop them. In many poorer countries, where treatment may be less readily available, cataracts can be a major cause of blindness among babies and young children. Eventually, if they’re not treated, cataracts can lead to blindness.
Cataracts are caused by a build-up of protein in the eye. In babies and children, congenital cataracts can be present from birth. They can also appear as a result of eye injuries (known as ‘traumatic cataracts’) or following eye surgery for other problems.
When a child has cataracts, their education will start to suffer. Sometimes their vision becomes so poor that they’re forced to give up school. A lack of education can mean no income, no future and no way to escape poverty.
Luckily, cataracts are not difficult to treat, but it’s vital for children that they are caught in time. If not, the cataracts can cause their eyes to stop developing, meaning their sight can never be properly restored.
For children with cataracts, it’s vital that they are diagnosed and treated in time. If not, the cataracts can cause their eyes to stop developing, meaning their sight can never be properly restored. They may be unable to play with their friends or go to school, leaving them facing a lifetime of poverty.
This is why Sightsavers works in more than 30 countries to carry out eye screenings and enable children to be treated, so their sight can be saved and they are able to get an education, enjoy life and realise their potential.
Each year, Sightsavers helps to provide 300,000 cataract operations for children and adults around the world. Since our work began in 1950, we have helped to provide 7.3 million cataract operations, and trained over 1,000 cataract surgeons.
Will you donate today to our charitable cause? With your help, we can continue our work to help restore children’s sight and give them hope for the future.