Omale told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday that other causes of congenital cataract are metabolic problems, diabetes, trauma and inflammation or drug reactions.

"Without early intervention, congenital cataracts cause `lazy eye’ or amblyopia.

"This condition then can lead to other eye problems such as nystagmus, strabismus and inability to fix a gaze upon objects.

"Such problems can profoundly impact learning ability, personality and even appearance, ultimately affecting a child's entire life.

"For these and many other reasons, make sure your child's eyes are examined regularly and as soon as possible after your baby is born,’’ Omale said.

He said congenital cataracts could occur during pregnancy when the mother develops infections such as measles, chicken pox, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, poliomyelitis, influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, syphilis and toxoplasmosis.

Omale said older babies and children also can be diagnosed with cataracts, known as paediatric cataracts, for similar reasons.

He identified trauma associated with events such as a blow to the eye which he said accounted for cause in 40 per cent of cases of cataracts in older children.

Omale also identified other types of congenital cataracts to include anterior polar, posterior polar, nuclear and cerulean.

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"Cataract surgery may need to be performed as soon as possible to ensure that vision is clear enough to allow normal development of your baby's vision system.

"Once the cataract is removed, it is absolutely vital that your child's eye be corrected with a surgically implanted lens (intraocular lens), contact lens or eyeglasses.

"Without vision correction following cataract surgery, the eye will have poor vision, and normal infant vision development will be impeded,’’ he said.

Omale said parents should consult an eye expert if they notice anything strange in their children’s eyes, advising parents to avoid local treatments.