Launch of Cataract Kids Australia
About a month ago I had the pleasure of speaking at the launch of Cataract Kids Australia. The event brought together children affected by congenital and infantile cataract, and their families, eye care providers, researchers and other interested parties. Other speakers at the event included Associate Professor James Elder (who is one of Australia’s leading paediatric ophthalmologists), Dr Michael O’Connor (who is heavily involved in stem cell research) and Sue Silveira who has extensive experience in managing infants with congenital cataracts. Both Michael and Sue made the special effort of flying down from Sydney just to speak at the launch.
Congenital cataracts are one of the major causes of visual impairment in children. In Australia, the incidence of infantile cataract is about 1 in 5000. The visual outcomes for babies with cataracts have improved dramatically over the last couple of decades. Earlier detection of childhood cataracts and prompt surgical removal means that these patients now have a much better visual prognosis. Advances in contact lens technology have led to a significantly higher success rate with contact lenses and this has been a major factor in improving the visual outcomes for babies who are required to undergo cataract surgery.
Cataract Kids Australia is the brainchild of Dr Megan Prictor. Megan’s son Leo was born with congenital cataracts that were surgically removed soon after birth and he now wears contact lenses for his visual rehabilitation. Leo attends our practice on a regular basis for ongoing contact lens after-care and his parents (Megan and Wez) are typical of the many wonderful parents we encounter who are faced with this added challenge of managing contact lens wear for their child from a very early age following surgical removal of congenital cataracts.
Among its core activities, Cataract Kids Australia aims to provide high-quality information resources and education about cataract to families across Australia, to work with clinicians to enhance care and support, and to connect with the nation’s leading researchers to help achieve a better future for kids with cataract and their families. I wholeheartedly congratulate Megan on this fantastic initiative and this is something our practice will fully support on an ongoing basis. More information about Cataract Kids Australia can be found at their website http://www.cataractkids.org.au/ Note also that Cataract Kids Australia is a registered charity and that donations are tax deductible and can be made through the website.