Identifying measurements to predict childhood secondary glaucoma risk

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / Glaucoma UK
  • Grant Holder: Dr Ameenat Lola Solebo
  • Institute: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
  • Region: London
  • Start date: February 2023
  • End Date: January 2024
  • Priority: Prevention
  • Eye Category: Childhood-onset
Brief Lay Background

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and is characterised by damage to the optic nerve – which connects the eyes to the brain.

Although glaucoma most often affects older adults, it can also affect children. About five in 100,000 children are born with the condition or develop it in childhood.

What problem/knowledge gap does it help address

In babies and children, as in adults, glaucoma can happen as a result of other eye problems. For instance, secondary glaucoma can often follow cataract surgery to replace the lens – or when the eye has become inflamed (uveitis). Children born with phakomatoses – certain birthmarks in and around the face – are also at increased risk of developing the condition.

If doctors could accurately identify which of these children are most at risk of secondary glaucoma, they could adjust their treatment accordingly – helping to prevent sight loss.

Aim of the research project

To carry out a pilot study to identify reliable imaging-based biomarkers (measurements) with the potential to predict a child’s risk of secondary glaucoma.

Key procedures/objectives
  1. Recruit 100 families of children affected by uveitis, cataracts or certain types of phakomatoses to take part on the study – and follow them up for six months to find out if they develop secondary glaucoma.
  2. Take additional high-quality imaging scans of both eyes during the first year after the child’s initial eye problem is diagnosed.
  3. Compare data between children who develop glaucoma with those who do not – to identify any reliable measurements that could be used to predict the risk of secondary glaucoma. 
Potential impact on people with sight loss

The long-term goal of this research is to develop a new test that could help personalise treatment for each childhelping to prevent sight loss from secondary glaucoma.