EYE CARE :: Problems With Vision
What is childhood glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes (intraocular pressure, or IOP) slowly rises as a result of inadequate drainage. Instead, the fluid collects and causes pressure damage to the optic nerve (a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers that connects the retina with the brain) and loss of vision. In children, glaucoma may begin early in life (infantile) or develop later (childhood glaucoma).
What causes childhood glaucoma?
Glaucoma occurs when the fluid drainage from the eye is blocked by abnormal development or injury to the drainage tissues, thus, resulting in an increase in the intraocular pressure, damage to the optic nerve, and loss of vision.
There are many causes of childhood glaucoma. It can be hereditary or it can be associated with other eye disorders. If glaucoma cannot be attributed to any other cause, it is classified as primary. If glaucoma is a result of another eye disorder, eye injury, or other disease, it is classified as secondary.
How is childhood glaucoma diagnosed?
Diagnostic procedures for childhood glaucoma may include:
Younger children may be examined with hand-held instruments, whereas older children are often examined with standard equipment that is used with adults. An eye examination can be difficult for a child. It is important that parents encourage cooperation. At times, the child may have to be examined under anesthesia, especially young children, in order to examine the eye and the fluid drainage system, and to determine the appropriate treatment.
What are the symptoms of childhood glaucoma?
Glaucoma is rare in children, as compared to the adult. Glaucoma can affect one eye or both.
The following are the most common symptoms of childhood glaucoma:
If the eye pressure increases rapidly, there may be pain and discomfort. Parents may notice that the child becomes irritable, fussy, and develops a poor appetite. Early detection and diagnosis is very important to prevent loss of vision. The symptoms of glaucoma may resemble other eye problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
Treatment for glaucoma:
It is important for treatment of childhood glaucoma to start as early as possible. Treatment may include:
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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
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