Ophthalmic Findings in Children With Nonsyndromic Craniosynostosis Treated by Expansion Cranioplasty

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The ocular and systemic abnormalities of nonsyndromic craniosynostosis are often considered to be less severe than those of syndromic craniosynostosis and are less well described. The purpose of this article was to describe the frequency and nature of ophthalmic abnormalities in children treated for nonsyndromic craniosynostosis by expansion cranioplasty. A retrospective review identified 88 consecutive children with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis who underwent expansion cranioplasty with distraction osteogenesis. Assessment of presence and type of strabismus, refractive error, and amblyopia before and 6 months after surgery was recorded. Children with a mean age of 24.4 months were treated for nonsyndromic craniosynostosis (27 with coronal and 61 with sagittal and/or lambdoid). One-fourth of the patients had a fixation preference. Significant refractive errors were found in 45 (51%) of the 88 patients: hyperopia in 27%, myopia in 5%, and astigmatism in 35%. Anisometropia was present in 20%. Of the 85 patients who completed orthoptic examination, 48 (56%) had strabismus: exodeviation in 26%, esodeviation in 14%, and vertical deviation in 5%. Fourteen patients (16%) had abnormal head posture. Significant refractive error and strabismus were more likely to occur in cases with coronal synostosis. The procedures used for cranial vault expansion improved the abnormal head posture but did not affect the refractive error or ocular misalignment. Of children with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis who need neurosurgical correction, more than half were found to have significant refractive error and strabismus. Our findings support the importance of ophthalmic evaluation in these children.

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