Childhood glaucoma is rare but potentially devastating, given its lifelong impact. As with most diseases, early diagnosis is the key to developing a targeted treatment protocol and preserving the patient’s visual function as much as possible. That’s why it’s so important for the Childhood Glaucoma Research Network (CGRN) to give doctors precise and accurate guidance on diagnosis.

A new classification system developed by the group aims to do just that by unifying the nomenclature “through a logical and systematically-approachable path.” Historically, diagnosis protocols were vague. Glaucomatous changes can be varied and associated with multiple mechanisms. This new system recognizes that, for some, a glaucoma diagnosis may be suspected, but not confirmed.

 The system seeks to categorize patients into a diagnosis of:

  • Glaucoma following cataract surgery (or clear lens extraction).
  • Glaucoma associated with nonacquired systemic disease or syndrome.
  • Glaucoma associated with nonacquired ocular anomalies.
  • Glaucoma associated with acquired conditions.
  • Primary congenital glaucoma.
  • Juvenile open-angle glaucoma.

To encourage use of this classification system, the CGRN developed a flowchart, available here, to arrive at the correct classification.

The system has already met with approval, as it reached a consensus agreement at the Ninth World Glaucoma Association Consensus and has been adopted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Thau A, Lloyd M, Freedman S, et al. New classification system for pediatric glaucoma: implications for clinical care and a research registry. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. July 19, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].