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RANZCO Draws Attention to Childhood Glaucoma

mivision | 15 March 2017
Glaucoma can strike at any age and may even be present at birth, says the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO). The College is marking World Glaucoma Week (12-18 March) by reminding parents to have their children’s eyes checked regularly to ensure healthy vision.

While uncommon, childhood glaucoma can not only impact a child’s vision but it can also have significant implications for their social development and mental wellbeing.

Glaucoma signs in children present very differently when compared with adults. Some signs to look for in babies and young children are:
•    Large eyes
•    Cloudy eyes
•    Watery eyes
•    Excessive blinking
•    Sensitivity to light

Dr. Caroline Catt, a RANZCO Fellow and one of Australia’s leading Paediatric Ophthalmologists, says early detection is important. “Babies with glaucoma display specific signs that help diagnose glaucoma early on, if you know what you’re looking for and maintain an index of suspicion… Early detection and proper treatment is instrumental as this can result in the reversal of some of the damage caused by childhood glaucoma and help delay the progression of the disease,” she said.

Sydney mum, Mandy Ferreira, knows all too well about the devastating impact of childhood glaucoma. Her son, Darcy, was diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes when he was only 11 months old. “I noticed a cloudiness in his eye and immediately rushed him to the doctor who referred us to Dr. Catt,” said Ms. Ferreira. Several painful surgeries and ongoing treatments saved Darcy from going blind. “We are extremely lucky that this was caught early on. We had never heard of childhood glaucoma before and have learned as a family that it is not an easy journey to travel. Darcy would have lost his vision had his condition been left untreated.”

“We cannot thank and give gratitude enough to Dr. Catt. She has been more than amazing and has been behind the success of saving Darcy's vision. Without her, I dread to think what his life would be like now.

Pictured are Darcy and his mum, Mandy Ferreira, the day before his first operations, showing  his cloudy eye at its worst; and Darcy following hist first two operations.

' I noticed a cloudiness in his eye and immediately rushed him to the doctor who referred us to Dr. Catt '