Pediatric Ophthalmology

Pediatric Glaucoma

Glaucoma is rare in children, but can cause much more serious visual problems than in adults. Vision is very poorly developed in a newborn and requires several years of proper visual experience to develop to a normal level. Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye pressure of the eye is too high and structures inside the eye, such as the optic nerve, can be permanently damaged. If glaucoma occurs early in childhood, vision development may be permanently affected.


Typical symptoms of glaucoma that develop in the first few years of life would include excessive tearing, light sensitivity, enlargement and clouding of the cornea. Glaucoma that develops after age three would typically have no symptoms, such as in adults.


Pediatric glaucoma can be present at birth or may develop at any time during childhood. It can affect one or both eyes. It is critical that glaucoma be diagnosed in a timely fashion and properly treated.

Treatment Options

Glaucoma that develops in a child will usually require surgery. Glaucoma surgery in children requires general anesthesia and is almost always performed as an outpatient procedure. Vision rehabilitation after pediatric glaucoma surgery typically requires patching of the “good” eye if glaucoma only involves one eye, and will usually require glasses as well. In some circumstances, topical eye drops may be needed to control the elevated eye pressure. Examinations under anesthesia may be needed.

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