Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions which cause optic nerve damage and can affect your vision. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve at the point where it leaves your eye. Primary congenital glaucoma is rare (glaucoma in children). It affects about one in every 10,000 infants. It is serious and needs attention. Untreated primary congenital glaucoma is a major cause of childhood blindness.

There are four main types of glaucoma:

1. Chronic open-angle glaucoma – this is the most common type of glaucoma and develops very slowly

2. Primary angle-closure glaucoma – this is rare and can occur slowly (chronic) or may develop rapidly (acute) with a sudden, painful build-up of pressure in the eye

3. Secondary glaucoma – this occurs as a result of an eye injury or another eye condition, such as ⦁ uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye)

4. Developmental glaucoma (congenital glaucoma) – this is rare but can be serious. It is usually present at birth or develops shortly after birth. It is caused by an abnormality of the eye

Glaucoma damage may be caused by raised eye pressure or a weakness in the optic nerve. In most cases, high pressure and weakness in the optic nerve are both involved to a varying extent. Your eye needs a certain amount of pressure to keep the eyeball in shape so that it works properly. However, if the optic nerve comes under too much pressure then it can be damaged. The amount of damage there is depends on how high the pressure is and how long it lasts, and whether there is a poor blood supply or other weakness of the optic nerve. A really high eye pressure can damage the optic nerve immediately. A lower level of pressure can cause damage more slowly, and then you would gradually lose your sight if it is not treated.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma in children and babies?

Developmental glaucoma:

Recognising the symptoms of developmental glaucoma (also known as congenital glaucoma) can be difficult due to the young age of the baby or child.

  • large eyes due to the pressure in the eyes causing them to expand
  • being sensitive to light (photophobia)
  • having a cloudy appearance to their eyes
  • having watery eyes
  • jerky movements of the eyes
  • having a squint
  • What Causes Primary Congenital Glaucoma?

  • The cause of primary congenital glaucoma is not clearly understood.
  • Some cases are due to family history
  • Some cases are unrelated to genetics
  • The lack of or full development of the network of cells that make up the drain during pregnancy
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