Background: The proportion of individuals above retirement age is expanding and consequently there is increased demand for ophthalmic surgery, including strabismus. In 2001 we published a pilot study reviewing all strabismus operations performed on patients aged 60 and over between 1992 and 1999. Almost a decade later, we repeated the analysis, aiming to identify any longitudinal trends.
Methods: Using the hospital information system, we conducted a retrospective review of all elective strabismus surgery in patients aged 60 years and over, performed by one surgeon (JPL) between January 2000 and September 2008. All operations were under general anesthesia.
Results: We identified 237 strabismus operations (9.1% of total operations) that were performed in patients aged 60 or over. This is significantly higher compared with the proportion of elderly patients in the previous study (111 patients, 7% of total operations, P=0.015). Gender distribution was similar to our previous study (105 females, 51% vs 59 females, 53.1%, P=0.814). Ages ranged from 60 to 96 years (mean 69.5 ± 6.8). A decade ago, the more common diagnoses were fourth (22%) and sixth (10%) cranial nerve palsies, consecutive (14%) and secondary (9%) strabismus, whereas recently thyroid eye disease (18%), sixth nerve palsy (13%) and iatrogenic (11%) causes have overtaken the other categories (P=0.011). Adjustable sutures were undertaken in 144 patients (61%).
Conclusion: Strabismus in elderly patients continues to be related to neurogenic etiologies but thyroid eye disease and iatrogenic causes are on the increase. This is the first 10-year longitudinal analysis to be presented, with the caveat that our data are obtained from a single practice.