Birth prevalence and characteristics of congenital corneal opacities

Kaitlynn Borik, Brian G. Mohney, David Hodge, Margaret M. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose/Aim: To report the birth prevalence and natural history of congenital corneal opacities among a population-based cohort of children. Materials and methods: The medical records of patients <5 years diagnosed with a congenital onset corneal opacity while residing in Olmsted County, Minnesota, from January 1, 1977, through December 31, 2016, were retrospectively reviewed. Results: Fourteen patients were diagnosed with a congenital corneal opacity during the 40-year study period for a birth prevalence of 1 in 5188 live births. The mean age at diagnosis was 7.5 months (range 0–48 months) and 9 (64.3%) were males. Four patients had congenital glaucoma, 4 had limbal dermoids, 2 had sclerocornea, and 1 patient each had Descemet's tear from birth trauma, herpes simplex virus type 1 keratitis, corneal leukoma, and an undiagnosed scar. Six (42.8%) patients required treatment for their underlying corneal opacity including the four patients with congenital glaucoma. The other 8 (57.1%) patients had a clear central axis. Four (28.6%) of 14 patients required amblyopia therapy, and 4 (28.6%) developed strabismus. Four (28.6%) patients had associated systemic conditions. During a mean follow up of 5.4 years (range 1.3–27.0 years), the median best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was logmar 0.16 (20/25) (range 20/20-hand motion) with one patient with unilateral BCVA less than 20/60 and one patient with bilateral BCVA less than 20/60. Conclusions: In this 40-year cohort, congenital corneal opacities were relatively rare and the result of a variety of disorders. Although amblyopia and strabismus occurred commonly, most patients had good visual outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-738
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2024


  • congenital anomalies of cornea / sclera < CORNEA / EXTERNAL DISEASE
  • genetic / developmental defects < LENS / CATARACT
  • genetic disease / congenital abnormalities < PEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGY
  • glaucomas (pediatric) < PEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGY


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