Primary Congenital Glaucoma is a disease group where fluid pressure in the eyes causes damage to the optic nerve. This condition affects children below three years. It is a condition that is severe and calls for attention. One in every 10,000 infants is affected by the disease in the United States and if left unattended, it becomes the chief root of blindness in children. The condition is primary because it is not caused by any other condition or illness while it is congenital because it already there at birth. The disease is usually noticed by doctors when the child is between three and six months. However, it can be diagnosed even later, up to the time the child is three years.
There are many medical facilities where you can get effective primary congenital glaucoma treatments in the United States. However, travel is needed in order to access these facilities. This treatment is normally covered by insurance plans but travel expenses are not. You will need to plan for your travel.
If you are already set in terms of where you want to go for primary congenital glaucoma treatment, consultation or second opinion, you can go ahead and plan for your travel. If not yet decided, you can consult our directory of facilities that specialize in treatment of primary congenital glaucoma. In case you are unable to meet your travel expenses, you can check the directory of charitable organizations that help in arranging free travel for medical purposes.
About Primary Congenital Glaucoma
The fluid in a healthy eye provides the necessary pressure and brings nourishments. The fluid drains through a system of tissue and cells. The fluid that is lost is replaced through constant making of more. With primary congenital glaucoma, this normal process is inhibited. In many instances, the fluid fails to drain as it should. This causes a buildup of fluid that raises the eye pressure. The optic nerve located at the back of the eye is the one that sends information to the brain. The pressure as a result of primary congenital glaucoma gradually destroys the optic nerve fibers. This process is so slow that when symptoms become clear, the damage is already beyond repair.
In case the eye tissues and cells of the baby do not develop well before birth, chances are that the bay will experience drainage difficulties after birth. The causes of this failure are largely unknown. Some of these cases are genetic while others are not.
About twice as many boys as girls are born with it. It sometimes shows up only in one eye, but most of the time, it affects them both.
The condition sometimes manifests in only one eye, but in most cases, the disease affects both eyes. There are three major symptoms for primary congenital glaucoma. These include the following;
- The baby closes the eyelids in a manner like he is trying to protect the eyes
- The baby seems sensitive to light painfully
- The baby frequently tears up
- Cloudy cornea
- One or the two eyes abnormally large
Where to Go for Primary Congenital Glaucoma
There are many medical facilities where parents can take their children for primary congenital glaucoma. These facilities have professionals and expertise to deal with the condition and bring about the best outcomes. One of the best medical facilities for this condition includes;
- Seattle Children’s Hospital
This facility offer complete diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders including primary congenital glaucoma. The hospital employs the latest medical technologies to identify and treat eye disorders.
Treatment of Primary Congenital Glaucoma
Before treatment is done, the doctor must properly diagnose the condition. This is done by performing a full examination of the eye. Due to the fact that it is very hard for the opticians to perform eye exam on infants, this is normally done in the theatre. The doctors will give the child anesthesia for the baby to sleep off the procedure. The doctors will then measure the child’s eye pressure and examine all eye parts thoroughly. After the doctors have ruled out any other conditions that may lead to the child’s eye problems, a formal diagnosis will be done.
The first treatment option is usually surgical operation. Due to the risks involved in administering anesthesia to infants, doctors prefer surgery immediately after confirmation of diagnosis. If the condition has affected both eyes, operation with be done on the two eyes concurrently. In case surgery cannot happen immediately, the doctor will give prescriptions for eye drops, oral medications or combine the two in order to manage eye fluid pressure.
Majority of doctors perform microsurgery. Small tools are used to form a drainage canal to deal with fluids in excess. In other situations, the doctor will perform an implant of a small tube or valve that will be used to drain the fluid out of the eye. If these methods fail to bear fruits, the doctors may do laser surgery to damage the area responsible for fluid production. Prescription drugs may be given to help eye pressure control after the operation.
Due to the fact that pressure buildup can relapse any time, the baby will require regular eye check-ups for lifetime.
Because increased pressure can come back at any time, your child will need regular checkups throughout his life. The management of the condition is aimed at the control and lowering intraocular pressure and dealing with complications of secondary nature like amblyopia and refractive change that result in the course of the illness.
Risks Associated with Primary Congenital Glaucoma
It is usually difficult to tell which babies will be born with primary congenital glaucoma. However, there are factors that are considered risks associated with the condition. These risk factors include the following;
- Family history: Those parents that have a history of the disease are more likely to pass it on to their children.
- Precedence: If you have a first and second child with the condition, the others will likely follow suit.
- Gender: Boys are twice as likely to be born with the condition compared to girls.
Who Can Go for Primary Congenital Glaucoma
All children should be carefully examined before and after birth because primary congenital glaucoma affects children before they are born but symptoms may not be immediately noticeable. It is fairly difficult to notice and many doctors do this when the baby is between three and six months. In some children, this can be noticed as late as they are three years. For these reasons, babies should be well checked during and after birth. Additionally, those that are already experiencing symptoms of the condition should go for primary congenital glaucoma treatment immediately. Parents more susceptible to passing on the condition should be sure to have their children thoroughly checked.
If a parent has a history of the condition, the child should be examined at birth or immediately after. If the parent has had one or two children with the condition, caution should be taken so that the child is taken through examination.