How good is eyesight after treatment?
It is extremely difficult to give a definite prediction of how good a child's eyesight will be after treatment, especially when the child is very young. Many children with glaucoma who have been treated do have excellent vision in adult life and many of them have effectively normal vision. However, the most important thing is control of the intraocular pressure and then, following that, further treatment if necessary with glasses and patches to ensure that the vision develops normally. As the child grows older the specialist will have a better idea of how good their long-term vision will be.
Following successful treatment, the child will need to return to the clinic at regular intervals for check ups. In fact, children with glaucoma need to have their condition monitored for life.
The main problem with these operations is scarring. Young eyes heal especially well and scar tissue can form, which may block the flow of fluid out of the eye. This results in a further rise in eye pressure. However, through research, new methods continue to be devised to help prevent this happening and these have considerably improved the results of the surgery. Some of these treatments may include the drugs 5-fluorouracil or mitomycin-c, or beta radiation. Very tiny doses of these agents are given only to the treatment area (an area a quarter to a half the size of your little fingernail) and continue to improve long term results of the surgery.
During the anaesthetic, or later on in the clinic, the power of the eyes will be checked. This can be done while the child is asleep by using a series of special lenses and a light which reflects off the back of the eyeball (retinoscopy). In older children this can be done in the clinic. If it is found that glasses are needed, these will be prescribed. Sometimes glasses need only be worn during the patching treatment, and sometimes they will be dispensed for continuous wear. If necessary, a pair of tinted glasses will also be dispensed for use in bright light because of the sensitivity to light found in many children with congenital glaucoma.