What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is any damage to the eye caused from high internal eye pressure. It usually causes damage to the optic nerve which is the connection between the eye and the brain. This damage is permanent and can cause vision loss and blindness if not treated.

What causes glaucoma?

Glaucoma is basically a plumbing problem. Glaucoma is caused by high pressure build-up because the eye cannot drain the fluid that is produced every day. This can happen for many reasons. The high pressure presses down on the optic nerve over time and causes permanent damage.

Glaucoma in very young children and infants is caused by a genetic disorder that affects the development of the natural drainage system of the eye. In older children and adults, the natural drain of the eye cannot keep up with the normal fluid production in the eye, so the system “backs up.” Trauma or injury to the eye can also increase the chance of glaucoma.

What is the treatment for glaucoma?

Treatment for glaucoma depends on the age of the child and the cause of the glaucoma. For infants and small children, surgery is used to open the natural drain of the eye. For older children and adults, eye drops are used to “turn off the faucet” and decrease the eye pressure

The damage from glaucoma cannot be repaired. Every treatment is done to prevent more damage from happening.

How do I know if my child has glaucoma?

Glaucoma in young infants and children causes the eyeball to get bigger and swell. The front of the eye may turn cloudy if the pressure is very high. This often causes discomfort or pain, and the child may be fussy.

In older children or adults, they will not have any pain or symptoms until the glaucoma is very advanced. Regular screening exams with your eye care provider are needed to find people that have glaucoma, or may have glaucoma, before they lose vision.