Fixation control and eye alignment in children treated for dense congenital or developmental cataracts

Eileen E. Birch, Jingyun Wang, Joost Felius, David R. Stager, Richard W. Hertle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Background: Many children treated for cataracts develop strabismus and nystagmus; however, little is known about the critical period for adverse ocular motor outcomes with respect to age of onset and duration. Methods: Children who had undergone extraction of dense cataracts by the age of 5 years were enrolled postoperatively. Ocular alignment was assessed regularly throughout follow-up. Fixation stability and associated ocular oscillations were determined from eye movement recordings at ≥5 years old. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate whether laterality (unilateral vs bilateral), age at onset, and/or duration of visual deprivation were associated with adverse ocular motor outcomes and to determine multivariate odds ratios (ORs). Results: A total of 41 children were included. Of these, 27 (66%) developed strabismus; 29 (71%) developed nystagmus. Congenital onset was associated with significant risk for strabismus (OR, 5.3; 95% CI, 1.1-34.1); infantile onset was associated with significant risk for nystagmus (OR, 13.6; 95% CI, 1.6-302). Duration >6 weeks was associated with significant risk for both strabismus (OR, 9.1; 95% CI, 1.9-54.2) and nystagmus (OR, 46.2; 95% CI, 6.0-1005). Congenital onset was associated with significant risk for interocular asymmetry in severity of nystagmus (OR, 25.0; 95% CI, 2.6-649), as was unilateral cataract (OR, 58.9; 95% CI, 5.1-2318). Conclusions: Laterality (unilateral vs bilateral) and age at onset were significant nonmodifiable risk factors for adverse ocular motor outcomes. Duration of deprivation was a significant modifiable risk factor for adverse ocular motor outcomes. The current study demonstrated that reduced risk for nystagmus and strabismus was associated with deprivation ≤6 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology

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