Background: This study was conceived to provide an insight into the spectrum of glaucoma in the pediatric population. We also set out to compare the success of disease control and the prognosis for vision within the different diagnostic subgroups. This is the largest single population of children with glaucoma that has been so described and compared.
Methods: The charts of children who were first seen between birth and age 16 years and who attended the Hospital for Sick Children with any form of glaucoma between January 1974 and January 1995 were reviewed and entered into the study.
Results: Data are presented for 306 children. Congenital glaucoma was the most common subtype, accounting for 38%. Patients with congenital glaucoma were young, had surgery, and had more operations than any other group except those with aniridia. Goniotomy offered a cure in 47.8% of the patients. A bimodal distribution reflected their visual performance. Patients with aphakic glaucoma, the next most prevalent group (20%), presented at an older age (4.5 years). Surgical intervention was performed in 50% of these children. Nearly all patients with Sturge-Weber syndrome (80%) had surgery. The following glaucoma groups were associated with a poor visual outcome: aniridia, anterior segment developmental anomalies involving the cornea, uveitis with glaucoma other than steroid induced, retinopathy of prematurity, and persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous. Steroid-induced glaucoma and anterior segment dysgenesis, excluding Peters anomaly, had uniformly good outcomes.
Conclusion: The ability to control glaucoma in childhood and visual prognosis is highly variable. Particular diagnostic categories do consistently well and some do poorly.