Neuro-ophthalmology for the pediatrician.

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2 Scopus citations


The pediatrician needs to develop some skills in evaluating afferent visual functions and ocular motor abnormalities. He must know some fundamental neuro-ophthalmologic facts to prevent his patients from undergoing unnecessary diagnostic and surgical procedures. In addition, he needs to understand the fundamentals of strabismus and amblyopia, which are briefly considered in this article. First, the most common type of nystagmus in children is congenital nystagmus. These children often have a head turn or tilt. Also, it should be remembered that numerous drugs may cause nystagmus. Second, any child with a head turn or tilt must be considered to have some ocular motor abnormality until a complete ophthalmologic evaluation has eliminated this possibility. In addition, before a child is considered to have an isolated sixth-nerve palsy, the child should be examined for Duane's retraction syndrome. Also, before an inferior oblique palsy is diagnosed, a Brown's tendon sheath syndrome should be considered. Thus, any ocular muscle abnormality deserves an ophthalmologic evaluation. Third, when bilateral swollen optic nerves are noted as an incidental finding, drusen of the optic nerve head should be suspected. A unilateral swollen disk with decreased visual acuity and a Marcus Gunn pupil should bring to mind a papillitis, which is a local inflammatory condition of the optic nerve head. Remember, papilledema is a bilateral condition secondary to increased intracranial pressure with normal vision. Children with papilledema usually have other signs of increased intracranial pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric Annals
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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