The resurgence of botulinum toxin injection for strabismus in children

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The present review discusses recent advances in the use of botulinum toxin for the management of strabismus in children.

Recent findings

Botulinum toxin injection produces similar results compared to surgery for certain subtypes of strabismus, especially acute onset esotropia. It may be more effective in many subtypes of esotropia where surgery has been less reliable, including partially accommodative esotropia, esotropia associated with cerebral palsy, and thyroid eye disease.

Summary

Small retrospective studies have demonstrated the efficacy of botulinum toxin in the treatment of many types of pediatric strabismus, providing some guidance for clinicians to determine which patients would benefit most from this intervention. Although administration of botulinum toxin is generally accepted as a reasonable option in select cases, many strabismus surgeons have not fully embraced the treatment, in part because of perceived disadvantages compared to surgery and difficulty in identifying subsets with the highest potential for therapeutic success. A recent study compared the administration of botulinum toxin in children with acute-onset esotropia to surgical correction and found botulinum toxin had a statistically equal success rate, but with the advantage of significantly less time under general anesthesia. In addition, botulinum toxin has been recently tried in patients with partially accommodative esotropia, esotropia associated with cerebral palsy, cyclic esotropia, and in patients with thyroid eye disease. The present review will discuss current clinical recommendations based on recent studies on the use of botulinum toxin in children with strabismus.

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