Glaucoma in Children

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. This occurs when the fluid inside the eyes does not drain properly. The fluid collects and causes damage to the optic nerve, eventually causing loss of vision. Glaucoma can affect one or both eyes.

Although common in adults, glaucoma is rare in children. More than 60 percent of children with glaucoma are diagnosed before they are 6 months old.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Because glaucoma is rare in children, the symptoms might not be as obvious as those in adults. The most common symptoms of childhood glaucoma are:

  • excessive tearing
  • sensitivity to light
  • closure of one or both eyes in the light
  • cloudy, enlarged cornea
  • one eye appearing larger than the other
  • vision loss

Your child may also have pain, seem fussy or have a poor appetite.

What are the causes of glaucoma?

There are many causes of childhood glaucoma. It can be hereditary or it can be associated with other eye disorders. If glaucoma cannot be attributed to any other cause, it’s classified as primary. If glaucoma is a result of another eye disorder, eye injury or other disease, it is classified as secondary.

How we care for glaucoma

The Ophthalmology Department at Boston Children’s Hospital offers specialized care for children with glaucoma. Our team of experts, including comprehensive pediatric ophthalmologists and glaucoma specialists, are dedicated to providing the latest testing and treatment options for your child.