The eyes can have it, young or old, even newborns


For Immediate Release

June 15 , 2012



London, Ontario –Cataracts are something many of us associate with aging, as inevitable as that first pair of reading glasses. But children, even newborns, can develop cataracts. Indeed, some are born with cataracts.

Cataracts are a clouding of the clear lens of your eye. People who have cataracts experience their vision as though they are seeing through cloudy lenses or a foggy window and often have sensitivities to sunlight.

Children can inherit cataracts from their parents.

“It is not unusual to see a familial line which shows the same pattern of cataracts,” says Dr. Sapna Sharan, Ophthalmologist, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London. “Cataracts can also be acquired through eye trauma or medications such as steroids.”

Each year Dr. Sharan performs cataract surgery for about 10 paediatric patients ranging from newborns to teens. Not every child requires surgery. The cataract should be a critical size, which significantly impairs vision, before operating. Post operative visual rehabilitation can be challenging in infants and younger children and there is an increased risk of glaucoma from cataract surgery in young patients.


How can parents know if their child is developing cataracts?

Babies are tested at birth for ophthalmological diseases but there are signs to watch for in older children.

Children who develop cataracts show signs such as lazy eyes, squinting in even low level sunlight, sitting increasingly closer to the television, and increasing tentativeness when walking.

In a photograph white reflection in one eye, as opposed to ‘red eye’, can be a sign of cataracts in that eye.

It’s important, says Dr. Sharan, for children to have an eye exam each year.

Dr. Sapna Sharan is available for media interviews until 3 pm, if you would like to arrange an interview please use the contacts below.


About London Health Sciences Centre

 London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 137 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit 

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London

St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a major patient care, teaching and research centre with a distinguished legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada, dating back more than 130 years. St. Joseph’s five key role areas include acute/ambulatory care, complex care and veterans care, long-term care, rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics and specialized mental health care. Facilities and services including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas are part of the St. Joseph’s family. Our research arm, the Lawson Health Research Institute, continues to direct their research to the development of new knowledge that is continually being applied directly to patient care. More than 400,000 patients annually receive care from close to 6,000 physicians and staff at St. Joseph’s. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with Western University.


Kelsi Break
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Communication & Public Affairs
519-646-6100 ext. 64792


Marek Kubow

London Health Sciences Centre

Communications Consultant

Telephone: 519-685-8500 Ext. 75155


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