To mark this year’s World Glaucoma Week (12-18 March), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) is reminding parents to have their children’s eyes checked regularly to ensure healthy vision.
“Glaucoma refers to a group of chronic eye diseases which cause damage to the optic nerve resulting in vision loss. 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,” explained Dr Caroline Catt, a RANZCO Fellow and one of Australia’s leading Paediatric Ophthalmologists. “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,” added Dr Catt.
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 Mandy. 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, as a family, have learned 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.”