Congenital abnormalities that affect the sensory organs are known as sensory birth defects. One of the most commonly reported sensory birth defects is a condition known as congenital blindness, which is characterized by permanent visual impairment that can almost never be fully repaired. Although many factors may lead to congenital blindness, one of the main causes of the condition may be the maternal use of antidepressant drugs by expecting mothers during pregnancy.
Congenital Blindness Lawsuit Review: If you or somebody you know has a child who was born blind after the mother took antidepressants during pregnancy, you should contact our lawyers immediately. Consultations are always free. Please use our confidential email contact form or call toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
Which drugs have been linked to congenital blindness?
Around the country, millions of women are prescribed antidepressant medications during pregnancy to help them deal with the symptoms of depression and other psychological conditions. Unfortunately, these drugs may pose serious risks to expecting mothers and their babies. The following selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications may cause a baby to be born with congenital blindness or other adverse birth defects:
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
What is Congenital Blindness?
The human eye collects, focuses, and transmits light through a lens to create an image of its surroundings. The image is created on the retina, a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Like a camera, the eye controls the amount of light that enters the eye. The iris (the colored part of the eye) controls the amount of light passing through the pupil. It closes the pupil in bright light and opens it up in darker conditions. The cornea is the transparent, protective surface of the eye. It helps focus light, as does the lens, which is located directly behind the retina.
When light enters the eye, the retina transfers the light into nerve signals. The retina then sends these signals to the brain along the optic nerve (a cable of more than 1,000,000 nerve fibers). Without a retina or optic nerve, the eye cannot communicate with the brain, resulting in blindness.
Most people are either born blind or develop the impairment as the result of existing visual problems that get worse over the years. Blindness that is present at birth is referred to as congenital blindness, and in most cases is almost totally untreatable. The vast majority of congenitally blind babies will never be able to see. However, there are different degrees of visual impairment, and some individuals who have a birth defect that affects the sensory organs may only suffer from mild visual impairment.
Vision plays a fundamental role in a child’s early development. Being born blind can cause a serious delay in certain aspects of development and may lead to learning disabilities, particularly when the condition is accompanied by other birth defects.
A diagnosis of congenital blindness can be difficult for all parties involved. It’s hard to imagine raising a child and not being able to share all the wonders of the world with them. But it is important to understand that congenital blindness is not a death sentence, and that there are innumerable aspects of life that your child will still be able to enjoy. In order to help your child, it is crucial to understand the condition so you can help your child lead the best life possible.
Signs & Symptoms of Congenital Blindness
It usually becomes apparent that a child is blind or visually impaired a few days to weeks after being born. The infant may appear less responsive than other babies, lying quiet to make the most of his or her hearing. Other signs and symptoms of antidepressant-induced congenital blindness may include:
- the inability to fix eyes on a close object
- random eye movements
- not smiling by the age of six weeks – sadly, new parents may find it difficult to bond with a quiet baby who does not smile
- abnormally large, cloudy eyes (if glaucoma is present)
If blindness is not detected by the baby’s parents, it will most likely be identified during a routine examination soon after the child’s birth. Infants suspected of congenital blindness are typically referred to a specialist for an examination and tests. The child will also have his or her hearing tested because, if the infant is severely visually impaired, he or she will rely heavily on hearing.
Treatment & Prognosis (Outlook)
In a small number of cases, it may be possible to improve visual impairment in infants born with the condition, such as those with cataracts or glaucoma. Early treatment of these defects is crucial – cataracts are usually surgically removed soon after birth, while glaucoma may be treated by draining fluid from the eye.
If congenital blindness is severe and cannot be repaired, treatment involves allowing the child to make maximum use of other senses or what little vision he or she has. If the child is diagnosed as being congenitally blind, a team of specialists can be made available to give the child support and care. Parents will be given advice on how to stimulate their child using speech, sounds, and touch, as well as how to adapt their home so that the child is able to safely navigate and explore their surroundings.
Is there a time limit in filing a congenital blindness lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their congenital blindness lawyer, it is important that you understand that time is of the essence. The applicable statute of limitations in your state may time bar your claim. Furthermore, we are unable to provide you with legal advice without first evaluating your potential case. Accordingly, please take the time now to contact us by using the confidential email contact form below or by calling us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
We hope we will be able to assist you with your potential antidepressant-induced congenital blindness birth defects lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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