New research suggests that babies who are born to parents who have the highest rate of eye conditions can have autism in later life.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that mothers with higher incidence of cataracts and corneal ulcers had a 20 percent higher risk of autistic disorder.
It’s one of the first studies to suggest a link between cataract and cornea damage and autism.
“What’s so exciting about this study is that we’re finding something that’s happening to a baby at birth that’s not obvious at birth,” Dr. Elizabeth Miller, one of lead authors of the study, told NBC News.
Miller said that babies with more serious conditions like cataractic ophthalmia have an increased risk of autism and other developmental delays.
The researchers looked at data from more than 6,000 children from the Great Lakes Eye Centers, a research group at the University of Michigan, as well as more than 1,000 siblings of children born to families with the most severe eye conditions.
The average age of the children was 9 months old, and they had a median age of 3.6 years old.
The results showed that babies that had more severe conditions had a 19 percent higher incidence rate of autism.
The researchers say that this is a link that could be important for families that don’t see eye problems, but are trying to make decisions about their child’s eye care.
“There’s not a lot of research that’s looking at autism risk in babies,” Miller said.
“This is something we could look at, and then make an informed decision based on that.”
While the link between autism and cataracism is still unknown, Miller said it is a possibility that the increased risk can be linked to other factors, like maternal stress.
The research also found that a mother’s age is also a factor in autism risk, and that infants born to a woman who has a higher risk are also more likely than infants born without autism to be born with a higher incidence.
Miller says it’s important to note that this study does not suggest that catarastism causes autism, but it does suggest that the higher incidence rates in autism are linked to some other risk factors.
“If you have more cataratic eye, there are things that are happening that could predispose you to catarastic eye,” Miller explained.
“So if you’re having more catastrophic eye, that’s a risk factor that could contribute to autism.
It might also be something that could predict autism risk.”
The researchers hope that this research will help parents and other professionals make better decisions about infant eye care in the future.
“We hope this research provides information that helps us make better decision about what is the best care for infants at any given time,” Miller added.
“And what we can do to make sure that that’s the case, it will help us make the right decision at the right time.”