Crystalline aculeiform cataract is a congenital (present at birth) form of cataract. Cataracts are the clouding of the lens in the eye. The lens, which is usually clear, focuses light on the eye. Crystallins are molecules in the lens that help make the lens clear and allow you to see. Crystalline aculeiform cataract is characterized by needle-like crystals in the lens that extend in multiple directions. These crystals cause problems with vision. Crystalline aculeiform cataract can occur in one or both eyes, though typically both eyes are affected. Usually, this condition only reduces vision a bit in childhood, but causes greater problems in adulthood.
Crystalline aculeiform cataract is caused by mutation in the CRYGD gene. Our genes are what control the growth, development and function of our bodies. If a mistake or error occurs in a gene, it can cause problems. We inherit our genes in pairs, one from each parent typically. The CRYGD gene is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. Autosomal dominant means an individual only needs one copy of the changed gene or mutation that causes the condition. Usually, a rare condition like this is inherited from one parent. If one parent is a carrier for the mutated gene, children have a 50% chance of having the condition.
This condition can usually be diagnosed with an eye exam and by looking at the lens of the eye specifically. In most cases, surgery may be performed to help improve the clarity of vision by replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial one. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with crystalline aculeiform cataract, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also a good source of information.
Description Last Updated: Mar 07, 2018