Causes of Congenital Eye Problems
1. - Genetic disorders.Genetic disorders are a leading cause of visual impairment in children.
They include anophthalmia, aniridia, albinism, anterior segment dysgenesis, Marfan's syndrome, ectopia lentis, neurofibromatosis, retinal haemangioblastomas and familial exudative vitreoretinopathy.
2. - Infection. - The most characteristic ocular findings associated with congenital infection are chorioretinal scars and chorioretinitis. These are seen in the TORCH group of infections (Toxoplasmosis, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus and Herpes). There may be extensive eye involvement. Congenital cataracts can also be associated with some congenital infections - eg, rubella, varicella-zoster virus, Epstein-Barr virus.
3. - Alcohol. - The eye is a primary target for fetal alcohol syndrome, with abnormalities including optic nerve hypoplasia, tortuosity of retinal vessels, coloboma and microphthalmia.
4. - Drugs. - Cocaine is associated with vascular disruption in the newborn retina, with superficial and deep haemorrhages. This can resemble haemorrhages related to birth trauma. Severe eyelid oedema can also occur. Other opiates and benzodiazepines have been associated with nystagmus and reduced acuity.
5. - Maternal diabetes. - Optic nerve hypoplasia is the most common ocular malformation in babies born to mothers with diabetes. Tight control of fasting glucose levels reduces the risk.
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