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Glaucoma in Children

Glaucoma is a serious eye disorder caused by increased pressure within the eye. It may be due to either overproduction or inadequate drainage of the fluid within the eye. If this increased pressure persists too long, it can damage the optic nerve and cause loss of vision.

Although a child can be born with glaucoma (called congenital glaucoma), this is quite rare. More often it develops later. The earlier it is detected and treated, the better the chance of preventing permanent vision loss.

What are the signs of glaucoma in children?

If your child experiences any of the following warning signs, call your pediatrician promptly:

  • Excessive tearing that happens along with extreme sensitivity to light (your child will turn their head into the mattress or blankets to avoid light)

  • Hazy or overly prominent appearance of either eye

  • Increased irritability (typically because of persistent eye pain and discomfort)

How is childhood glaucoma treated?

Usually glaucoma must be treated surgically to create an alternate route for fluid to leave the eye. Any child who has this disease must be watched very carefully throughout their life so that the pressure is kept under control. The goal is to keep the optic nerve and cornea as healthy as possible.

More information

Last Updated
Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age Five 7th edition (Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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