Impact of sight and hearing loss in patients with Norrie disease: advantages of Dual Sensory clinics in patient care

BMJ Paediatr Open. 2020 Nov 16;4(1):e000781. doi: 10.1136/bmjpo-2020-000781. eCollection 2020.


Norrie disease (ND) is a rare, X-linked condition of visual and auditory impairment, often presenting with additional neurological features and developmental delays of varying severity. While all affected patients are born blind, or lose their vision in infancy, progressive sensorineural hearing loss develops in the majority of cases and is typically detected in the second decade of life. A range of additional symptoms of ND, such as seizure disorders, typically appear from a young age, but it is difficult to predict the range of symptoms ND patients will experience. After growing up without vision, hearing loss represents the greatest worry for many patients with ND, as they may lose the ability to participate in previously enjoyed activities or to communicate with others. Dual sensory loss has a physical, psychosocial and financial impact on both patients with ND and their families. Routine monitoring of the condition is required in order to identify, treat and provide support for emerging health problems, leading to a large burden of medical appointments. Many patients need to travel long distances to meet with specialists, representing a further burden on time and finances. Additionally, the rare nature of dual sensory impairment in children means that few clinical environments are designed to meet their needs. Dual Sensory clinics are multidisciplinary environments designed for sensory-impaired children and have been suggested to alleviate the impact of diseases involving sensory loss such as ND. Here, we discuss the diagnosis, monitoring and management of ND and the impact it has on paediatric patients and their caregivers. We describe the potential for dual sensory clinics to reduce disease burden through providing an appropriate clinical environment, access to multiple clinical experts in one visit, and ease of monitoring for patients with ND.

Keywords: audiology; deafness; ophthalmology.

Publication types

  • Review