Quality of life in children with glaucoma: a qualitative interview study in Australia

Lachlan S.W. Knight, Bronwyn Ridge, Sandra E. Staffieri, Jamie E. Craig, Mallika Prem Senthil, Emmanuelle Souzeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Childhood glaucoma is a chronic vision-threatening condition that may significantly impact an individual's psychosocial well-being. There is a paucity of literature investigating the quality of life (QoL) in children with glaucoma. The aim of this study was to investigate and report on the QoL issues encountered by children with glaucoma. 

DESIGN: This is a qualitative interview study. Data were collected through semistructured interviews. NVivo V.12 software (QSR International Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia) was used to analyse and code data to identify QoL themes. The prominence of QoL themes was determined by the number of children who raised issues connected to the corresponding theme. 

SETTING: Interviews were conducted via telephone or videoconferencing between April 2020 and July 2021. 

PARTICIPANTS: Eighteen children with glaucoma, aged 8-17 years, who resided in Australia, were recruited from the Australian and New Zealand Registry of Advanced Glaucoma. 

RESULTS: Median child age was 12.1 years (IQR: 9.7-14.5 years) and 33% were female. Seven QoL themes were identified: 'coping', 'inconveniences' and 'emotional well-being' were more prominent themes than 'symptoms', 'ocular health concerns', 'social well-being' and 'autonomy'. Adaptive coping strategies included resilience throughout clinical examinations and establishing positive relationships with ophthalmologists. These minimised inconveniences related to clinic waiting times and pupillary dilatation. External to the clinical setting, children often dissociated from their glaucoma but struggled with glare symptoms and feeling misunderstood by fellow peers. Older children aged 13-17 years commonly disengaged from their glaucoma care and expressed an unwillingness to attend ophthalmic appointments. Older children further raised issues with career options, obtaining a driver's licence and family planning under the theme of autonomy. 

CONCLUSIONS: The psychosocial impact of childhood glaucoma extends beyond the clinical environment and was minimised using coping strategies. Older children may require additional social and ophthalmic support as they transition into adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere062754
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022


  • glaucoma
  • ophthalmology
  • paediatric ophthalmology
  • qualitative research


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