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Fiji Time: 7:22 PM on Tuesday 22 July

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Blind at birth

Serafina Silaitoga
Friday, November 16, 2012

ONE child out of 50,000 is born with congenital cataract in Fiji, says world-renown American surgeon, Prof Doctor Jeff Rutgard.

And the most likely cause in such cases, he said, was because mothers were not vaccinated to prevent rubella and mumps during their childhood days.

Dr Rutgard said if women who were able to bear children failed to receive the vaccination during their childhood days, there was a chance of their babies suffering congenital cataract from birth.

He said if expectant mothers suffered from rubella during pregnancy stage, there was a high chance of their babies developing congenital cataract from birth compared to women being vaccinated during childhood days.

"That is why it is so important for all girls to be vaccinated for rubella and mumps," said Dr Rutgard.

"There are other causes like through the genes and that was the case of four-year-old Joji Qanimanu whose mother had the same problem."

He added that cataract with old people was simply because of old age.

"God put in every eye a crystal clear lens which helps us to focus but as we grow older, the lens also ages and turns brown or yellow. When that happens, it becomes a cataract and we need to remove it and replace it with high-graded lens made from silicon plastic and that doesn't age."


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