Hydrocephalus and the eyes: a teaching hospital experience

Nig Q J Hosp Med. Oct-Dec 2011;21(4):252-4.


Background: The eye developes from prosencephalon, the primitive forebrain and hence share similar embryonic origin with brain. This gives insight into primary or secondary involvement of eyes in intra-cranial pathology.

Objective: The study was done to describe ocular findings in hydrocephalus patients and effect of intervention on the complications.

Methods: Forty one consecutive hydrocephalus patients were examined pre and post ventriculo-peritoneal shunts. Comprehensive ocular examinations included dilated fundoscopy in all cases.

Results: A total of 41 patients were examined with the age range of between 4 hours to 108 months and a mean age of 21 months. Onset of the hydrocephalus varies from 4hours to 108 months, with a mean of 4.1 weeks. Twenty two patients (51.2%) presented after 2 months of onset of hydrocephalus. Most common presenting complaint was enlarged head seeing in 29 patients (70.7%).

Conclusion: A total of 12 (30%) out of 41 patients with hydrocephalus had optic atrophy. Another 10 patients had sun-setting phenomenon, 3 of these sun-setting phenomena resolved a week after ventriculo-peritoneal shunts. The ocular morbidity is high among hydrocephalus patients.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Eye Diseases / surgery
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Teaching / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / complications*
  • Hydrocephalus / epidemiology
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt