Pediatric Ocular Myasthenia Gravis

Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2019 Sep 26;21(10):46. doi: 10.1007/s11940-019-0593-y.


Purpose of review: We present a review of current strategies in the treatment of pediatric ocular myasthenia gravis (OMG). A critical appraisal was performed of the current literature available on OMG and the treatment options available for all age populations. From this data, we present the evidence surrounding therapeutic options for pediatric OMG and discuss treatment outcomes in the pediatric population. We also present gaps in the literature with regard to pediatric OMG and possibilities for future research.

Recent findings: While there is data on the use of steroid-sparing immunosuppressive agents for myasthenia gravis (MG), as a whole it is more specific for the use in generalized juvenile myasthenia gravis (JMG) and more focused toward the adult population. In the currently available literature, there have been reports published on the use of steroid-sparing agents including azathioprine, cyclosporine, and mycophenolate mofetil. A recent open-label trial has provided evidence for the use of tacrolimus to improve symptoms of JMG including OMG that were refractory to prednisone. In addition to this, there has been evidence that thymectomy is effective in controlling pediatric OMG and shows a pattern toward preventing generalization of MG, reducing prednisone dosing, and increasing resolution of disease. There are other treatments used in the pediatric population of MG, including intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), plasmapheresis, and rituximab, but currently there are no reports on use in OMG. In the population of patients with pediatric OMG, a high percentage of patients are able to obtain stabilization of symptoms using only pyridostigmine or pyridostigmine in combination with oral prednisone. Rates of generalization of OMG range from 15 to 35%, with higher rates in the adolescent population, but approximately 25% of pediatric patients with OMG can have complete remission. For pediatric OMG patients with ophthalmologic manifestations that are refractory to pyridostigmine and prednisone, the use of steroid-sparing agents has been practiced more recently. In addition to this, thymectomy has been utilized in this population. In both of these instances, no pediatric randomized control trials have been performed to date.

Keywords: Ophthalmoplegia; Pediatric myasthenia gravis; Pediatric ocular myasthenia gravis; Ptosis.

Publication types

  • Review