Anterior Polar Cataract

The lens of the eye is usually crystal clear. When the lens of the eye is cloudy or has a solid, milky coloring, the eye has a cataract. About 3 out of every 10,000 children have a cataract, although this number varies throughout the world.

An anterior polar cataract is a special type of cataract. This cataract often looks like a small “dot” on a child’s eye that can be seen in the middle of the pupil. The pupil is the dark circle in the middle of the iris (the colored portion of the eye). Anterior polar cataracts are congenital, meaning the child is born with this type of cataract. 

The majority of anterior polar cataracts are very small. Because they are so small, most do not need to be removed with surgery and will not harm a child’s vision. A small number of anterior polar cataracts may be larger or may grow. Surgery is needed to treat those cataracts.  

Even though most anterior polar cataracts do not require surgical treatment, they can cause a refractive error meaning a child will need eyeglasses to properly focus.

In some patients, the refractive error is large enough to cause lazy vision – also called amblyopia. This condition can be treated with eye patching or with eye drops.

Patients with an anterior polar cataract should be seen by an eye doctor to make sure they do not need glasses. Regular clinic visits are necessary to make sure the cataract does not change. Your eye doctor will let you know how often to schedule clinic visits.