Healthwatch 16: Glaucoma, Cataracts in Children

FORTY-FORT, Pa. -- When you hear of conditions like glaucoma and cataracts, you probably think of an adult, maybe even an older adult.

But those issues can happen in children, too.

At the Geisinger facility in Forty Fort, pediatric ophthalmologist Dr. Collin Hair is talking about eye issues typically seen in older adults but can sometimes be seen in kids.

One is glaucoma. It's rare, but it happens.

"The incidence of these things is about one to two babies in 10,000," Dr. Hair said.

Glaucoma is when the pressure in the eye is too high, which damages the optic nerve.

Sometimes, it's caught in newborn babies when they're first examined.

"Later on, kids will develop symptoms of eye tearing, eye blinking, and photophobia, an aversion to light."

Another issue that can be seen in kids is cataracts.

Cataracts are when the lens inside the eye is cloudy.

Both issues, according to Dr. Hair, are serious conditions that can cause blindness if not caught and treated early.

"But they're very, very different. Cataracts in children are different than cataracts in adults, and the same with glaucoma."

Dr. Hair says surgery is the most common way to treat the conditions in kids, which is not necessarily the case for adults.

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