Anyone gone through a child having cataracts?
May 10, 2015 4:37 PM   Subscribe

If your child has had cataracts what was your experience? What do you wish you had known?

My four year old had a vision check up on Friday after we noticed he was having some problems. I wear glasses and we weren't actually that concerned so we didn't rush in -- we noticed around Xmas. The optometrist thinks he has cataracts in both eyes and is referring him to a pediatric ophthalmologist, but I am information gathering. My son's last check up was about a year ago.

Google tells me by not rushing in we may have missed his brain adjusting and the damage may be permanent. I feel pretty sick we may have missed this and I want all the info I can get. Thanks for any experience or information you can share.
posted by warriorqueen to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My son had surgery for congenital cataracts just after his fourth birthday, so we knew about them since birth, but his pediatric ophthalmologist suggested we wait until he seemed a little more "ready" for surgery.

The surgery went fine (one eye on a Wednesday, the other eye on the next Wednesday). The anesthesia made him puke when we got him home, so we knew to use Phenergan on the next surgery.

The ophthalmologist was impressed at how well my son took to eye examinations, so he actually elected to do the surgery a little earlier (I guess I'm saying this again to allay your fears about being "too late").

The surgery was quite successful. He's 12 now and wears contact lenses (he will always be somewhat nearsighted) most of the time.

What will (hopefully) take your breath away is that moment when your son sees something for the first time after the surgeries. We were taking my son to preschool one day in the car, and he suddenly said "look at those birds on the ground trying to catch worms." It was a simple statement, but said volumes.
posted by kuanes at 5:22 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

The anesthesia wears off the stomach last, so don't push too much food too fast after surgery. When my 16 month old (at the time)had her adenoids out, she came out of surgery really, really angry and I had to hold her down for quite some time until she finally passed out and went to sleep.

The human optic nerves are pretty incredible and reconfigurable even in older ages. They are an amazing instrument built to constantly adapt.
posted by nickggully at 10:09 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If at all possible, I would have the surgery done at the biggest and best children's hospital I could get to. The city listed in your profile has what I understand to be an excellent children's hospital.

My 18 month old Nanopanda recently had a bronchoscopy/CT and we opted to have it done at the big downtown children's hospital rather than at the suburban hospital closer to us, and the peace of mind that came from having a pediatric anesthesiologist with years of experience handling complicated cases was INVALUABLE. Ditto for the nurse in the recovery area. And they had procedures in place to allow us to stay with our daughter until the last second. The anesthesiologist wouldn't allow us to be there at the moment he put her under, because she was too small and had airway problems, so he wanted 100% focus with no distractions, but he promised us she'd be under within 30 seconds of our leaving the room. That was so reassuring. (And those fancy murals on the walls? Worked like a charm to keep our kid calm and happy.) At the hospital closer to us, they have shared waiting and recovery areas between adults and kids, and parents aren't allowed to go back to the OR with their kids, which predictably leads to some pretty upset children en route to the OR.

Regarding the surgery itself, even if someone else could handle it, if somebody has to do surgery on your child's eyes, you want it to be the person who does that all day every day, not twice a year. It makes a difference.
posted by telepanda at 7:18 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

I had cataract surgery on my right eye as a kid (a long time ago, in the early 70s!). Lots of things have changed since then but memail me if you want to hear what I remember.
posted by mgrrl at 3:40 PM on May 12, 2015

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