Understanding ocular torticollis in children

Oftalmologia. 2011;55(1):10-26.


Ocular abnormal head posture (AHP) or torticollis is a frequent sign in pediatric pathology The incidence is 5.6% in ophthalmological practice and 3.19% in pediatric ophthalmological practice. The abnormal head posture is adopted to improve visual acuity maintain binocular single vision, center residual visual field with the body or for cosmetic reasons. Face turn is the most frequent abnormal head posture in pediatric ophthalmology. The more common diseases causing face turn are Duane syndrome, congenital fibrosis of extraocular muscles, nystagmus, refractive errors, visual field defects. The most frequent ocular causes of head tilt in children are congenital nystagmus, superior oblique paresis, dissociated vertical deviation, Brown syndrome, refractive errors. Chin-up or chin-down abnormal head postures are most commonly caused by "A" and "V"-pattern strabismus, palpebral ptosis, nystagmus, refractive errors. Torticollis is not a diagnosis, but it is a sign of an underlying disease. There are ocular diseases which diagnosis is straightforward for general practitioner, pediatricians or pediatric surgeons (horizontal nystagmus, lateral rectus paralysis, ptosis, esotropia), but others less obvious (superior oblique paralysis, Duane syndrome, A and V-pattern strabismus, torsional nystagmus) because of the compensatory head posture, and these last disorders are predisposed to confusion with congenital AHP Interdisciplinary collaboration between ophthalmologist, pediatrician, pediatric surgeon, ENT specialist and neurologist is mandatory in establishing the etiology of AHP Every child with AHP must be examined by an ophthalmologist.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases / complications
  • Duane Retraction Syndrome / complications
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Nystagmus, Congenital / complications
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / complications*
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / epidemiology
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / etiology*
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / physiopathology
  • Refractive Errors / complications*
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology
  • Refractive Errors / physiopathology
  • Romania / epidemiology
  • Vision, Binocular
  • Visual Acuity