What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition which causes damage to the optic nerve of the eye due to higher than normal intraocular pressure. Glaucoma is relatively rare in children (1 in every 10,000).
What causes glaucoma in children?
There are two types of childhood glaucoma. The most common type is primary (congenital/from birth) glaucoma and the second type is glaucoma associated with anterior segment (front of the eye) abnormalities such as Peter’s anomaly or ocular inflammation.
Is childhood glaucoma hereditary?
About 10% of cases of congenital glaucoma are hereditary.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Most children with congenital glaucoma present with excessive tears, light sensitivity and a large or cloudy cornea.
How is glaucoma diagnosed in children?
Unlike glaucoma in adults, diagnosis of glaucoma in children often requires detailed examination of the child’s eye under general anaethesia. An ophthalmologist needs to measure the size of the cornea, the eye pressure and assess the optic nerve status to confirm the diagnosis.
How is glaucoma treated in children?
Similar to adult glaucoma, paediatric glaucoma treatment requires lowering the intraocular pressure (IOP) by medical and/or surgical means. Most cases of primary paediatric glaucoma are treated with surgery. Goniotomy and trabeculotomy (which open the drainage canals of the eye) are the most common surgical interventions. Paediatric glaucoma treatment is more complex due to repeated surgical procedures and examinations under general anaesthesia to assure the intraocular pressure is well controlled.