Glaucoma is an important cause of blindness in children. According to our investigations, 12-15 % of blind children suffer from glaucoma. Glaucoma is characterized by a progressive build-up of pressure inside the eyeball, which causes gradual, but permanent, eye damage. Our eyes are in the shape of a small ball, about 2 cm wide. Most of the eyeball is filled with fluid which slowly circulates; carrying nutrition to the various working parts of the eye and finally leaves through various channels into the blood. In children, due to some congenital defect, there is obstruction to the outflow of this fluid. Due to resulting accumulation of this fluid inside the eyeball, the pressure inside the eye begins to rise, and the sensitive inner surface of the eye is slowly squeezed cutting off its blood supply. Simultaneously the eyeball in the child starts stretching abnormally due to this pressure and appears larger in volume. Little by little, the eye is damages. Little by little, the gift of sight is lost-this is glaucoma.
How to identify Glaucoma in a Child? The role of Parents.
A child who is born with large eyes, with constant watering and does not open his/her eye in light (photophobia) may be suffering from congenital glaucoma. Sometimes these symptoms may not be prominent, and child may show other symptoms of defective vision like inability to follow accurately the direction of the sound, trying to see through half open eyes, repaid to and fro movements of the eyeball (nystagmus) and finally the child may comparatively less active for his age.
Treatment of Glaucoma
• In the presence of all or some these symptoms, immediately take your child to any eye specialist.
• Get the rest of the children in the family also examined by an eye specialist.
• Usual treatment of glaucoma in children is some form of surgery. However any unnecessary delay can make the preservation of useful vision very difficult. A Child with large eyes may appear beautiful, but he may be heading towards blindness due to glaucoma
Take care of your child before it is too late!