Buphthalmos is a medical term that refers to an enlarged eye. It is commonly used to describe big eyes in children younger than 3 years old, and it often affects either one or both eyes. The name buphthalmos is derived from Greek origins and signifies “ox-eyed.” Buphthalmos is typically caused by an accumulation of fluid within the eye.
An inherited and congenital enlargement of the eye is referred to as buphthalmos by medical professionals. Congenital refers to an inborn condition. The eye’s size is evident at birth or during the initial months of life. This disease affects either one or both the eyes.
Autosomal recessive genes cause buphthalmos, which is also sometimes called buphthalmia. Autosomal recessive refers to an inheritance pattern in which both parents must pass on a mutated gene to their offspring for the child to acquire the ailment or trait. To protect vision, it needs to be treated right away.
Eye enlargement is the primary sign of buphthalmos. The eyes become large in this disease. Depending on the cause of the buphthalmos, people often experience other signs, such as:
- Corneal elongation, thinning, and potential fractures.
- Eye blinking or twitching.
- Eyes that readily become watery, teary, or irritated for no apparent reason.
- The cloudiness that appears on the cornea, is generally transparent and serves as the “window” to the eye.
- Eyes with a high degree of photosensitivity.
- Having trouble seeing clearly.
- Irritating and uncomfortable.
- Lack of hunger.
The parents observe a cloudy cornea or an enlargement of the cornea. Clinical examination also reveals an enlarged corneal diameter, a deep anterior chamber, and a rise in the size of the globe. Corneal examination reveals corneal edema together with Descemet’s membrane ruptures commonly known as Haab’s striae. There is an elevation in the intraocular pressure, and the cupping of the optic disc is also observed in this condition.
A baby’s or young child’s eye is very soft and easy to move. The eye can become abnormally large if there is a buildup of fluid within the eyeball. This is because the pressure from the fluid causes the eye to enlarge. Additionally, the elevated pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting messages between the eye and the brain. This condition is known as glaucoma.
The most prevalent cause of buphthalmos is glaucoma, which typically affects children. A buildup of intraocular pressure, often known as glaucoma, is a condition of the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve. The accumulation of fluid in the eye is typically the root cause of the increase in pressure, which is brought on by problems with the eye’s drainage system. Most forms of glaucoma involve eye drainage issues. The eye makes fluid and drains it continuously. Pressure increases if fluid is not drained.
Buphthalmos is typically treated by lowering ocular pressure. This is occasionally accomplished using eye drops containing beta blockers, which are routinely employed to reduce blood pressure.
Buphthalmos is treated by diagnosing the problem as early as feasible to protect the optic nerve and preserve vision. This often includes conducting glaucoma procedures or using pressure-lowering therapy.
The goal of treating glaucoma is to reduce the pressure so that it does not hurt the optic nerve anymore. Treatment for glaucoma in infants and toddlers typically entails surgical intervention.
Medications help cleanse the eye and reduce pressure before the procedure. These are often administered as eyedrops. Even after surgery, glaucoma patients are advised to often use eye drops. A doctor often prescribes beta-blockers, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, or prostaglandin analogs as eyedrops.
Buphthalmos vs Megalocornea
Isolated hereditary megalocornea is an extremely unusual nonprogressive condition characterized by abnormally wide corneas at birth on both eyes. It’s critical to distinguish this condition from congenital glaucoma-related buphthalmos, which is characterized by elevated intraocular pressure and increased axial length.
Megalocornea does not induce symptoms such as increased IOP, corneal edema, corneal opacification, or Haab’s striae (horizontal, curved breaches in Descemet’s membrane). The appearance of megalocornea is normally symmetric, but that of congenital glaucoma is often asymmetrical.
Megalocornea patients need corrective eye surgery and a complete eye exam to rule out anterior megalophthalmos. However, ocular pressure treatment is crucial for successful buphthalmos management. There are numerous methods, including drugs, for lowering pressure.