Clinical Characteristics and Surgical Outcomes in Patients With Intermittent Exotropia: A Large Sample Study in South China

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The clinical characteristics and surgical outcomes in a large sample of patients with intermittent exotropia (IXT) as well as an analysis of risk factors associated with surgical failures are presented in this article. Data from IXT patients who received surgical management at the Eye Hospital, in the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, of Sun Yat-Sen University, China from January 2009 to December 2013 were reviewed retrospectively. Included within this analysis were data from pre- and postoperative ocular motility, primary alignment, and binocular vision.

A total of 1228 patients with IXT were reviewed. Males (50.4%) and females (49.6%) were nearly equally represented in this sample. Thirty-two patients (2.6%) had a family history of strabismus. The mean age at onset was 6.77 ± 6.43 years (range 7 months –48.5 years), mean duration at presentation was 7.35 ± 6.68 years (range 6 months–47 years), and mean age at surgery was 13.7 ± 8.8 years (range 3–49 years). The mean refractive error was −0.84 ± 2.69 diopter in the right eye and −0.72 ± 2.58 diopter in the left eye. Amblyopia (4.2%), oblique muscle dysfunction (7.0%), and dissociated vertical deviation (4.7%) were also present in these patients. The most common subtype of IXT was the basic type (88.1%). Orthophoria was observed in 80.5% of patients and the ratios of surgical undercorrection and overcorrection were 14.7% and 4.8%, respectively, as determined with a mean follow-up time of 7.8 ± 3.7 months. When combining ocular alignment with binocular vision as the success criteria, the success rate decreased to 35.6%. Multivariate risk factor analysis showed that only the loss of stereoacuity (P = 0.002) was associated with a poor outcome. There were no differences in the long-term results between bilateral lateral rectus recession and unilateral lateral rectus recession with medial rectus resection.

Most IXT patients displayed normal vision, with few having positive family histories, amblyopia, oblique muscle dysfunction, and dissociated vertical deviation. The most common subtype of IXT was the basic type. Long-term surgical results were less favorable when sensory status was included in the criteria for success. Patients with stereoacuity loss were at an increased risk for poor outcomes.

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