What is glaucoma?
Normal eyes have pressure. Glaucoma is the abnormal elevation of eye pressure with resultant ocular and optic nerve injury causing loss of vision. Childhood glaucoma develops in 1 out of 10,000 children.
What causes glaucoma?
There is a normal physiologic flow of fluid out of the eye. Glaucoma occurs when this drainage is impeded by abnormal development or injury to the porous drainage tissues.
Childhood glaucoma may be of primary genetic origin or occur secondary to other pediatric eye diseases. A wide variety of systemic diseases may cause childhood glaucoma and must be considered in children with glaucoma.
Can childhood glaucoma be cured?
Treatment of glaucoma can be most successful when initiated as early as possible. Both drugs and surgery are successfully used to treat childhood glaucoma.
How is childhood glaucoma diagnosed?
Most young children show symptoms which can lead to an eye examination, measurement of eye pressure and diagnosis of glaucoma. An increased risk for childhood glaucoma may be suggested by family history or presence of a systemic disease known to be associated with childhood glaucoma.
What about research?
Both basic and clinical research are vital to support continued improvement in the care of children with glaucoma. New information leading to the prevention of glaucoma is also possible.
Do support groups exist for patients and parents of children with childhood glaucoma?
Excellent support organizations do exist to assist families, including those related to Lowe Syndrome and Sturge-Weber Syndrome. The Pediatric Glaucoma Foundation Family Associates is an active parent support group for all families of children with glaucoma.