Prevalence of the Infantile Strabismus Complex in Premature Children With and Without Periventricular Leukomalacia

Sangeeta Khanna, Aseem Sharma, Fatema Ghasia, Lawrence Tychsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether rates of strabismus and associated visuomotor deficits differed among children with different severities of periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). Design: Retrospective, case-control study. Methods: Brain magnetic resonance images (MRI) obtained from 98 children aged ≥2 years were analyzed using a standardized scoring system: 67 of 98 had PVL (mean GA 31 weeks) and 31 of 98 did not have PVL (mean GA 29 weeks). Severity of PVL was scored as degree of damage to the posterior optic radiations and the splenium of the corpus callosum on MRI. Ophthalmologic examination data were collated to assess the prevalence of visuomotor deficits and the relationship to PVL severity (grades 1-3, mild to severe). Results: Infantile strabismus was documented in 61% of children with mild, 74% with moderate, and 88% with severe PVL (esotropia: exotropia ratio 3.5:1). Associated ocular motor deficits also increased systematically with PVL severity: latent (“fusion maldevelopment”) nystagmus (20%, 47%, and 40%, respectively), dissociated vertical deviation (13%, 28%, and 30%), and nasotemporal pursuit/optokinetic nystagmus asymmetry (23%, 38%, and 54%). Additionally, the prevalence of retrograde optic neuropathy increased with PVL severity (5%, 26%, and 38%). The prevalence of each of these signs was substantially lower in children who had no PVL. Conclusions: Children who suffer PVL are likely to develop the deficits of the infantile strabismus complex. The deficits tend to increase systematically as a function of PVL severity. These findings provide evidence that infantile strabismus is linked to perinatal damage to cerebral vergence and gaze pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-351
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Cerebral visual pathway
  • Nystagmus
  • Optic neuropathy
  • Perivetricular leukomalacia
  • Prematurity
  • Strabismus
  • White matter injury


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