Nationwide study of hospitalization and surgical treatment for childhood strabismus in Italy between 1999 and 2004

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Abstract

Surgery for strabismus is in decline in countries like the United Kingdom. The aim of the present study was to determine whether this trend is also present in Italy and, also, to ascertain the number of squint operations performed in a six-year period. A retrospective review of all discharge summaries and procedures performed (diagnostic and therapeutic) for strabismus in Italian children aged 0–14 years old in the period 1999–2004 was undertaken. The total number of surgical procedures was 21,204. The number (per 10,000) was 4.24 in 1999, 4.33 in 2000, 4.31 in 2001, 4.25 in 2002, 4.23 in 2003, and 4.05 in 2004. The figure for 2004 was reduced by 4.48% with respect to 1999 and by 6.46% with respect to 2000. Temporal analysis revealed that the total number of single-muscle procedures remained stable for the first two years and then decreased in 2001 and 2002, and, above all, in 2003 and 2004. No significant change was noted in the number of procedures involving two or more muscles. It is also noteworthy that very few operations for strabismus were performed on children less than one year of age. The trend revealed by our data cannot be compared to the overall reduction in strabismus surgery that has been observed in England and Ontario, but there was a moderate decrease in the frequency of single-muscle surgical procedures among Italian children aged 0–14 years old in 2003 and 2004. Further investigation is needed to determine how this trend has evolved since 2004.

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