What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma in Children?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2019
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Children and babies who develop glaucoma often display a variety of symptoms to indicate the fluid is not draining from their eyes normally. The eyes of these children are often larger than usual, and generally they will be watery as well. Their corneas, which should be clear, typically appear cloudy. Glaucoma in children also may make them sensitive to light, causing them to squint or blink excessively. If the disorder progresses for too long, they may experience a loss of vision as well.

The increase in pressure caused by glaucoma in children typically causes the eyeball to swell. Since the surface of the eye is flexible, fluid buildup inside the eye causes it to expand. This leads the eyes to appear bigger than normal in these children; they may even protrude outward from the face. If only one eye is affected by glaucoma, it may become larger than the other, giving the eyes an uneven appearance. The eyes may also appear watery, as the irritation from the excessive pressure can cause them to tear up.

Another symptom of glaucoma in children is clouding of the cornea. The covering of the cornea is typically clear, but increased pressure can push the excess fluid into the cornea and cause it to cloud over and become white and hazy. It can also cause small cracks to form there, which can contribute to the appearance of a film over the cornea.


Sensitivity to light is also a symptom of glaucoma in children. Often the pressure in the eyes causes overall discomfort, and exposure to light may exacerbate this. Cloudiness in the cornea may create a glare that is also uncomfortable. Often these children will squint their eyes to avoid light, or they may blink more than normal when exposed to it. In some cases, the child may just keep his or her eyes closed when brought into the light.

The buildup of fluid in the eye caused by glaucoma may increase to the point where it causes damage to the optic nerve, which in turn damages a child's vision, particularly his or her peripheral vision. These children may have difficulty seeing because of this as well as from the clouding in their corneas. As a result of these vision problems, their eyes may tend to turn inward or outward. Parents may also notice some jerking motions of the eye in their children when this occurs.



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