Congenital glaucoma (in children)


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Congenital glaucoma belongs to a group of diseases in which the pressure inside the eye knob is too high, resulting in damage to the optic nerve. The congenital form of the disease occurs in children up to 3 years of age. Untreated cases of the disease are one of the leading causes of blindness in children.

The disease is most often detected relatively quickly at the age of 3 to 6 months, but initially, congenital glaucoma usually shows no symptoms until three years old. Early diagnosis allows 80-90% effective treatment, providing healthy vision in later life.

Fluid in the healthy eye, which guarantees proper pressure and is rich in nutrients that feed the cell and tissue network, in the case of congenital glaucoma, does not work properly and the fluid does not drain as it should, thereby increasing eye pressure. Such a situation results in optic nerve damage that occurs gradually, but changes that occur are irreversible.

Causes of congenital glaucoma

Congenital glaucoma affects children as a result of irregularities in the development of tissues before birth, which in turn causes problems with drainage of ocular fluid after birth. They are not, however, know the precise reasons for this state of affairs. Sometimes this issue is inherited.

It ‘s hard to predict whether a child will be born with glaucoma, but if the problem occurred in parents or older siblings, the risk is greater. According to case analysis, on average two times more boys suffer from congenital glaucoma, and sometimes it only appears in one eye.

Symptoms of congenital glaucoma

Among the main disturbing symptoms of congenital glaucoma include:

  • the closing of the eyelids (like eye protection)
  • painful sensitivity to light,
  • tearing.

If the condition becomes more advanced, there are also:

  • clouding of the cornea (the front layer of the eye which is usually clear),
  • one or both eyes become larger,
  • redness.

Diagnosis and treatment of congenital glaucoma

For a diagnosis of the disease, a thorough eye examination is necessary. Because in small children such a test is not easy to perform, it often requires surgery in the operating room under anesthesia.

The doctor measures blood pressure and thoroughly analyzes all parts of the eye. The diagnosis is confirmed by the exclusion of all other health conditions that can affect a child’s eyes.


Treatment usually begins with surgery under anesthesia, and if congenital glaucoma affects both eyes, then the doctor performs surgery on both at the same time.

If the treatment can not take place immediately, eye drops are prescribed and medicinal products taken by mouth or both treatments at the same time – this is to help control the pressure inside the knob.

Doctors usually perform microsurgical procedures using small tools to create a fluid-clearing passage. However, if this method does not help, laser treatment is used.

Among the complications, the most common problem is a reaction to the anesthesia, but can also appear situations in which:

  • the pressure inside the knob is not sufficiently reduced,
  • intraocular pressure is reduced too much,
  • it appears the Lazy eye,
  • the retina is separated,
  • there is astigmatism,
  • other.

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