Congenital Glaucoma

Disease

Congenital Glaucoma can either be inherited or could occur when the drainage system of the eye isn't properly developed before the child is born. This is a rare eye condition which leads to an increase in intraocular pressure.

Congenital glaucoma goes by a number of names like Childhood, Pediatric or Infantile Glaucoma. Babies and young children get affected by this form of glaucoma.

Causes

In congenital glaucoma, intraocular pressure increases. This takes place when there is a birth defect in the development of eye's angle due to the poor development of the eye. Furthermore, this creates a barrier for the aqueous humour to flow out normally, causing an increase in intraocular pressure and damage to the optic nerve.

The aqueous humour is the fluid present in the anterior chamber (space inside the eye). This fluid bathes the structures of the eye and maintains its optical properties. It constantly enters and exits the anterior chamber, and drains itself out of the angle that is formed by the cornea and the iris.

The angle allows the aqueous humour to flow out of the eye and sees to it that intraocular pressure is stable and doesn't damage the optic nerve. This makes it essential for the angle to remain open so that the aqueous humour can drain out of the eye.

When a child is affected by congenital glaucoma, he/she could experience the following symptoms -

1. Clouding of the Cornea

2. Photosensitivity or Sensitivity to Light

3. Enlarged Eyes

Diagnosis

More often than not, childhood glaucoma is diagnosed in the first year after the child is born. During diagnosis, a complete eye examination is done to detect congenital glaucoma for babies and children below the age of three.

Given below are various ways by which the child is diagnosed -

1. Examination of the Front Part of the Eye: In this, the condition of the cornea and angle are evaluated and based on the assessment, an appropriate surgical procedure is decided by the ophthalmologist.

2. Tonometry: In Tonometry, the child's eye pressure is measured. The ophthalmologist first applies eye drops to make the child's eyes numb and then places an instrument over their eye to measure the pressure.

3. Examination of the Fundus: While examining the fundus or the part of the eyeball opposite the pupil, the ophthalmologist dilates the pupils with eye drops and uses a special magnifying lens to examine the retina and optic nerve to identify any signs of damage.

Treatment

Medical treatment for childhood glaucoma includes using topical eye drops and oral medication. These will either reduce the production of fluid inside the eye or aid to increase the exit of fluid in the eye.

Surgery

If it is a complex case, then surgery is used to treat the childhood glaucoma. Surgical treatment is done through filtering surgery.

You must note that some cases of childhood glaucoma will require surgery and medication to treat it.

Takeaway

If you begin to notice symptoms of this eye condition in your child, make sure to get your child diagnosed before it leads to something more dangerous.