Glaucoma is one of the most common eye conditions that can lead to blindness. Although associated with aging, since it occurs mostly in people ages 40 and older, it is not that rare in children. It is estimated that in the U.S. one in 10,000 children have childhood glaucoma. The condition is treatable although the early diagnosis is very important. It is, therefore, necessary for parents to know the signs and symptoms of childhood glaucoma so that they can bring their child to a specialist the moment they see any of the symptoms.
What is childhood glaucoma?
Childhood glaucoma is basically the same as adult glaucoma only it occurs in children. As such, there is damage to the optic nerves in the eye which can get worse if left untreated. Usually, there is a pressure in the eye which damages the optic nerve. This pressure can be caused by injury or the condition may be hereditary.
Trauma to the eye can lead to glaucoma in children. It is estimated that 50% of people who have suffered trauma to the eye develop glaucoma. This is the same with children. Even if you do not have a family history of the condition, your child may develop glaucoma.
Signs that can help you detect if your child has glaucoma:
1. Associated Conditions
- Eye injury/eye trauma – children that have recently suffered eye injury should see an eye specialist so that proper treatment can be given. Now, even after the injury has healed and then you see the other signs of glaucoma (listed below), again bring him or her to the eye doctor to check if he or she may have developed the condition.
- Cataract surgery – Cataract surgery can lead to glaucoma so again, if your child had cataract surgery and you see some of the signs of glaucoma, bring him or her to the eye specialist.
2. If your child is under the age of 24 months
- Cloudy and teary eyes
- Bulging eyes
3. If your child is under the age of 18
- Loss of vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye pain
- Blinking and/or squinting
- Red eyes
Does your child show any of these signs? If so, bring him or her immediately to your eye specialist. Even if it is not glaucoma, what you have to remember is that many eye diseases and conditions are treatable. Early detection is important for proper and successful treatment.
Possible treatments for childhood glaucoma
Childhood glaucoma is treated medically or surgically.
- Medical treatments for glaucoma include eye drops and medicines
- Surgical treatments for glaucoma include glaucoma implants, goniosurgery, and laser surgery. Surgery may be repeated to completely remove the pressure in the optic nerves.
If you think you or any member of your family has glaucoma, you can visit Houston LASIK & Eye, one of the leading laser eye surgery and LASIK centers in Houston. They use the latest correction procedures and treatment for all eye conditions.
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