Clinical characteristics of surgically treated adult strabismus

J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 1998 May-Jun;35(3):138-45; quiz 167-8. doi: 10.3928/0191-3913-19980501-04.


Background: Strabismus is present in approximately 4% of the population with most forms becoming clinically evident in infancy and childhood. Adult strabismus, including that resulting from recurrent childhood deviations, varies in etiology, presentation, symptomatology, and response to treatment. This report is intended to prospectively characterize adults who required surgical correction of their strabismic deviation.

Methods: Beginning in 1991, a prospective computerized database was collected that contained all clinical, laboratory, and surgical information on the adult ocular motility service at the Scheie Eye Institute and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pa). Analysis of those patients who underwent surgical correction of their strabismus is included in this report. Demography, clinical characteristics, and surgical procedures including results were analyzed separately in adults with their strabismus beginning before visual maturation (BVM) (9 years of age) and after visual maturation (AVM).

Results: A minimum of 6 months and average of 1.8 years follow up is reported on 262 procedures in 255 patients with an average age of 37 between January 1991 and January 1996. Sixty-two percent of patients had their strabismus onset BVM. Fifty-one percent of BVM patients and 80% of AVM patients had incomitant deviations. Adjustable suture surgery was performed on 97% of all patients, with 28% of BVM and 57% of AVM patients having multiplanar surgery. Successful motor alignment was achieved in 85% of all patients after one surgical procedure. Sensory success was achieved in 81% of all AVM patients and 25% of all BVM patients. Subjective success was 94% in both groups of patients.

Conclusions: Numerous differences exist between childhood and adult strabismus characteristics and response to surgery. Although strabismus surgery is effective, differences in results reflect the varied physiology regarding etiology, pathophysiology, and symptomology. Classification into AVM and BVM groups will provide continued clarity for future studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oculomotor Muscles / physiopathology
  • Oculomotor Muscles / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Strabismus / etiology
  • Strabismus / physiopathology
  • Strabismus / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome