Glaucoma is the damage to eye’s optic nerves due to raised intraocular pressure. If not treated, it gets worse over the time and leads to permanent vision loss. Glaucoma is said to be the secret thief of eyesight as the damage initially involves peripheral field of vision, so patient generally doesn’t recognize it early.
However, it is a good thing that pediatric glaucoma is not that common and is rare. But it also needs to be understood that a pediatric glaucoma is very different from an adult glaucoma and the treatment and care needs to be extra precautious. In pediatric glaucoma, children have their whole lives to lose vision from it, the treatment has numerous years to cause side effects, and many pediatric glaucoma patients may require significantly more surgeries than adults with glaucoma.
Primary Congenital Glaucoma is one of the most common form of pediatric glaucoma and is found in 1 among 1000 individuals. It is necessary to confirm the diagnosis of glaucoma in a young child. The most convenient devices for the same in infants and young children are a Perkins Tonometer and the Tono-Pen XL.
For Glaucoma, it is recommended that the treatment is prescribed on case-by-case basis based on the observations. Sometimes if the diagnosis of the glaucoma is uncertain, then it may be even appropriate to follow the child without any treatment. The most important aspect is for the family to be made to understand that a regular follow-up with the ophthalmologist is very important as the treatment needs to be begun if necessary. Most of the times, a child with glaucoma needs an intervention – medical, surgical or sometimes both.