Acute acquired comitant esotropia: a prospective study

C J Lyons, P A Tiffin, D Oystreck
Eye 1999, 13 ( Pt 5): 617-20

PURPOSE: To define the clinical characteristics of patients presenting with acute onset esotropia and features suggestive of possible underlying central nervous system pathology. To assess the prognosis for the return of binocular function and to consider the most appropriate management.

METHODS: A prospective clinical study was carried out of all patients presenting to the department of paediatric ophthalmology at a university teaching hospital over the period January 1994 to April 1997. Each patient underwent a full ophthalmological examination (including assessment of sensory status). All patients were referred to a paediatric neurologist for examination and CT and/or MRI scan.

RESULTS: Ten patients presented during the study period. Uncorrected hypermetropia and/or decompensated monofixation syndrome were the commonest aetiological factors. One patient was found to have a cerebellar tumour. In 5 patients prescription of the full hypermetropic correction alone was sufficient to restore binocularity. Five patients required bilateral medial rectus recession. Binocular function was restored in all cases--in 5 cases with bifoveal fusion.

CONCLUSION: Decompensation of a pre-existing phoria or monofixation syndrome appears the commonest aetiology. Prescription of the full hypermetropic correction found at cycloplegic refraction forms an essential part of initial management. No single clinical sign can reliably indicate the rare patient harbouring a tumour. A high index of suspicion should be maintained and neuro-imaging considered in the absence of expected findings such as hypermetropia or fusion potential or in the presence of atypical features or neurological signs.

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