Characteristics and Outcomes of Idiopathic and Non-idiopathic Ocular Motor Apraxia in Children

J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2022 Sep-Oct;59(5):326-331. doi: 10.3928/01913913-20220106-01. Epub 2022 Feb 22.


Purpose: To systematically compare idiopathic and non-idiopathic ocular motor apraxia (OMA) in children.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of all children (< 18 years) diagnosed as having OMA from 2010 to 2020. Demographics, clinical characteristics, and oculomotor outcomes were compared for children with idiopathic and non-idiopathic OMA.

Results: Thirty-seven children were included, 17 (46%) with idiopathic OMA and 20 (54%) with non-idiopathic OMA. Among patients with non-idiopathic OMA, Joubert syndrome was the most frequent underlying diagnosis (30%). Strabismus (45% vs 12%, P = .04), nystagmus (30% vs 0%, P = .02), and vertical saccade involvement (25% vs 0%, P = .049) were significantly more common in non-idiopathic than idiopathic OMA, respectively. Neuroimaging abnormalities (90% vs 18%, P < .0001) and developmental delays (100% vs 59%, P = .002) were also more frequent in non-idiopathic than idiopathic OMA, respectively. Endocrine disorders (most commonly growth hormone deficiency) were diagnosed in 12% and 20% of children with idiopathic and non-idiopathic OMA, respectively (P = .67). On survival curve analysis, improvement in OMA occurred faster and more frequently in children with idiopathic than non-idiopathic OMA (median time to improvement 56 vs 139 months, respectively, P = .034).

Conclusions: Non-idiopathic OMA is associated with a higher rate of vertical saccade involvement, nystagmus, and developmental delays. These findings should prompt neuroimaging in children with OMA. Additionally, endocrine disorders may be more frequent in children with OMA than the general pediatric population. [J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2022;59(5):326-331.].

MeSH terms

  • Apraxias / congenital
  • Child
  • Cogan Syndrome* / complications
  • Cogan Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Growth Hormone
  • Humans
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic*
  • Ocular Motility Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Growth Hormone

Supplementary concepts

  • Apraxia, oculomotor, Cogan type