Keeping Children in Sight: A Free TeleSupport Group for Parents of Children Diagnosed with Glaucoma

Hello! I’m Catherine Duffek. I am now in my early 70s and I grew up with congenital glaucoma. I lead an active productive life and happily I still have my vision! To keep this vision my parents taught me their recipe for monitoring my glaucoma. It’s simple — never become complacent about the signs and symptoms of elevated intraocular pressure.

DON'T WAIT for warning signs. A dilated eye exam can detect glaucoma early and save your sight. National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP), a program of the National Institutes of Health.

It’s now January when we observe “Glaucoma Awareness Month.” I thought this might be a good time to review the signs and symptoms of this sneak thief of sight even if your child’s glaucoma is currently under control.

Unlike adult-onset glaucoma, which in the early stages is asymptomatic, childhood glaucoma has a specific set of signs and symptoms. These can include all or some of the following:

  • redness of the eye
  • excessive tearing without discharge
  • sensitivity to light, squinting, turning away from light
  • pain in the eye or a feeling of “something in the eye”
  • cloudy or milky white cornea

One or more of these signs and symptoms together may be an indicator of abnormal intraocular pressure.

With great enthusiasm I will be starting the Lighthouse Guild Glaucoma TeleSupport Group for Parents of Children diagnosed with glaucoma. The primary mission of this group will be to address specific issues which parents of children and children with glaucoma encounter. If interested, you are encouraged to join this group. The meetings are FREE. For more information or to join, please contact me at cduffek@msn.comor Susan LaVenture at

2016 brings hope for early diagnosis and the safeguarding of vision through public education and awareness programs, such as those through with the American Foundation for the Blind and the National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments of Lighthouse Guild.

For more information about childhood glaucoma, please visit: American Foundation for the Blind, Children’s Glaucoma Foundation, National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments of Lighthouse Guild, or National Eye Health Education Program. For adults with glaucoma, AFB’s VisionAware website has extensive information, including a patient’s guide to living with glaucoma that is now available in Spanish: Guía del Paciente: Vivir con Glaucoma.