Childhood Glaucoma Center

Dr. Edmunds sitting at a small table with a young boy

Childhood Glaucoma Center

The Childhood Glaucoma Center is committed to preventing and treating childhood glaucoma. As part of the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic at OHSU Casey Eye Institute, we are part of a comprehensive team of highly qualified and experienced professionals dedicated to the care of children. We recognize that children are not simply “little adults” but need care especially suited for their age.  We emphasize a holistic approach, and work closely with you and your child to offer support through those difficult times of diagnosis and treatment.

Director: Beth Edmunds, M.D., Ph.D. 

Coordinator: Bess Freas 

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma, which can be present at birth or develop later in childhood, happens when high pressure in the eye damages important eye structures. Vision loss will occur if left untreated. If caught early, the abnormally high pressure can usually be lowered with medications or possibly with surgery, and vision can often be protected. Glaucoma can be present by itself, part of a larger condition or syndrome, or develop because of other conditions in the eye or the rest of the body.

Our expertise

At Casey, we offer:

  • The largest Childhood Glaucoma Center in the Pacific Northwest, where families seek care from all over the region.
  • Two pediatric glaucoma specialists trained specifically in the diagnosis and management of childhood glaucoma.
  • The latest technology for diagnosing and managing this complex condition.
  • Leadership in the field of childhood glaucoma so your child receives care from top experts in the field nationally and internationally, and who contribute to the training and promotion of high standards of pediatric glaucoma care and research. 
  • Education for professionals, patients’ families and the public about childhood glaucoma.

Coordinated care

It is important that your child receives the best care possible from our specialists. We offer:

  • A multi-disciplinary team approach to diagnosing and treating childhood glaucoma and its complications. Every ophthalmic subspecialty at Casey has a pediatric expert on their team.
  • Compassionate care and support services available to help you and your child navigate this difficult journey. These include our Glaucoma Support Group, a dedicated social worker and connections with other community services.
Young girl receiving eye exam from doctor and nurse

Latest technology

Our doctors and staff use the most advanced technology available to examine your child’s eyes and treat any issues, including:

  • Access to cutting-edge technology for taking pictures of the eye, which can help us determine if your child is developing glaucoma or if the glaucoma is progressing.
  • A state-of-the-art operating facility within our building that houses the latest technology, and is supported by our dedicated pediatric anesthesia and nursing team.
  • A full range of methods to check eye pressure for those children who are too young or anxious. to co-operate with the usual pressure tests.
  • Visual field testing options that allow us to tailor testing to the child’s ability and condition. We have friendly staff experienced in gaining children’s cooperation for these tests.

Treatments

All glaucoma treatments aim to lower the eye pressure. Medications can reduce the amount of fluid made within the eye while surgery can increase the flow of fluid out of the eye. Often, surgery is the main treatment for children with glaucoma, while medications are used to support or supplement the treatment.

Research

Our interests include new imaging techniques in pediatric ophthalmology and glaucoma. Current projects include evaluating optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) for use in children with glaucoma and amblyopia as well as using fMRI to study certain changes in the brains of children with eye disease. We are also involved in a collaborative study testing the use of iCare tonometry at home to measure eye pressure. 

At Casey we are studying new imaging technologies that can be used for diagnosing glaucoma in children, including the use of OCT for children who need to be examined under anesthesia and using OCT-A to view OCT-derived images of the blood vessels in the retinal layers. The hope is that these tools will enable physicians to diagnose and monitor glaucoma more quickly and easily.

Childhood glaucoma support group

We offer a support group for families and children with glaucoma as part of the Childhood Glaucoma Center. These get-togethers are a great opportunity to learn from each other and give and receive support. These informal meetings include an occasional speaker, light refreshments, and toys for younger children and their siblings. 

When: Quarterly on Saturdays
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Where: OHSU Casey Eye Institute – Marquam Hill

For details of upcoming meetings, contact Bess Freas at 503-418-4264

Resources

Our doctors