WHO IS THE CULPRIT (WHO LEFT THE TAPS OPEN)?
Diseases that may block or “plug” the trabecular meshwork include genetic malformations
of the meshwork itself and inflammation
WHAT EFFECT DOES THIS INCREASE IN PRESSURE HAVE ON THE EYE?
The optic nerve
is situated at the back of the eye
. This nerve is the highway that transmits
all the information from the outside world to the brain for interpretation
. In order to function optimally the nerve has tiny blood vessels that bring it nourishment as well as having its own internal circulation (flow)
. If the pressure in the eyeball increases above the level
at which the eye can function normally, it starts to squash the blood vessels
“feeding” the optic nerve as well as the flow within the nerve. If left unchecked
, the nerve starts to die
and thus vision starts to deteriorate
. This vision loss will progress and become permanent if not treated
IS GLAUCOMA COMMON IN CHILDREN?
Fortunately, glaucoma in children is rare
with an incidence of 2.29 per 100,000 and can develop in only one or both eyes. The child can be born with the condition (congenital) or develop it later in childhood (juvenile)
Due to the serious prognosis
of the disease if left untreated, it is helpful to have an idea what signs a child might present with so that they can be accessed by an expert promptly.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Babies born with congenital glaucoma
can present with the following:
- unusually large eyes
- excessive tearing
- cloudy eyes (some parents notice a blue hue to the clear part of the eye)
- light sensitivity
- poor vision and jerky eye movements (nystagmus)
Older children who have juvenile glaucoma
often don’t present
with any noticeable symptoms
, which is one of the reasons why routine childhood screening by a specialist is essential
ONCE GLAUCOMA HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED, IS THERE ANY TREATMENT AVAILABLE TO PRESERVE THE CHILD’S VISION?
The treatment for glaucoma in children is surgery
. Medications are sometimes used to augment surgery
, but they are not recommended to be used as a “first line” treatment long term.
This is different to the manner in which glaucoma is usually treated in adults
. With adults, medication is the primary mode of treatment.
There are a number of different types of glaucoma drainage procedures available
. All of the techniques try to enhance the drainage of fluid from the eye.