Trabeculectomy or Transscleral Cyclophotocoagulation as Initial Treatment of Secondary Childhood Glaucoma in Northern Tanzania

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The purpose is to describe the outcome of trabeculectomy with transscleral cyclophotocoagulation (TSCPC) as an initial intervention for secondary childhood glaucoma in Northern Tanzania.


A retrospective, consecutive case series was analyzed of all children with secondary childhood glaucoma who underwent initial trabeculectomy or TSCPC between 2000 and 2013 at a referral eye unit in Northern Tanzania. Retrospective data were collected on causes of glaucoma, intraocular pressure (IOP), visual acuity, complications, and subsequent interventions. Outcomes were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and compared with Cox regression analysis. The main outcome measure was failure (IOP>21 mm Hg).


Thirty-six eyes of 27 children (male, 21; median age, 9 y; range, 0.3 to 15 y) with secondary childhood glaucoma underwent trabeculectomy (19 eyes, 53%) or TSCPC (17 eyes, 47%). Causes included ocular trauma (13, 36%), previous cataract surgery (12, 33%), congenital aniridia (5, 14%), Sturge-Weber syndrome (2, 6%), steroid-induced glaucoma (2, 6%), uveitis (1, 3%), and unspecified leucoma (1, 3%). After 12 months, success was achieved in 48% after trabeculectomy and 18% after TSCPC, with visual acuity remaining unchanged in 11 of 14 (79%) and 4 of 5 eyes (80%), respectively. One third of the children did not return for follow-up after 1 year. Distance to the hospital (>100 km) was a significant risk factor for trabeculectomy failure (P=0.031).


A high proportion of secondary childhood glaucoma in Northern Tanzania was caused by trauma and previous cataract surgery. Trabeculectomy was associated with better IOP control but also a higher complication rate. The ability to maintain visual function was comparable after both interventions. Failure was associated with a journey to the eye hospital (>100 km) possibly leading to late presentation with advanced disease and erratic follow-up.

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