Studies from the UK have reported declining rates of surgery for childhood esotropia. It is not known if this equates to a reduced incidence of essential infantile esotropia (EIE). A national study was undertaken through the British ophthalmology surveillance unit (BOSU) to determine the incidence presenting features and management of EIE in the UK
Data from a prospective national observational cohort of newly diagnosed EIE presenting to clinicians in the United Kingdom over a 12-month period was collected. Cases with a confirmed diagnosis by a clinician of a constant, non-accommodative esotropia ≥ 20 prism dioptres (PD), presenting at ≤ 12months, with no neurological or ocular abnormalities were identified through BOSU. Follow up data was collected at 12 months. Data was collected on the age, gender, ethnicity, birth history, age at diagnosis, age at intervention, angle of esotropia, refraction, associated features of amblyopia, overelevation in adduction (OEIA), latent nystagmus and dissociated vertical deviation (DVD), method of management and outcomes.
During the period of observation between October 2017 to October 2018 a total of 57 cases were reported giving an incidence of EIE of 1 in 12,828 live births with a corrected incidence of 1 in 9027 live births allowing for estimated under reporting. The mean age of diagnosis and intervention were 7.05± 2.6 months (range 2 to 12 months) and 14.7± 4.9 (range 6.5-28.1 months) respectively. The majority were Caucasians 86.5% and 52.7% were female. Management was surgical in 59.6%, and botulinum toxin alone in 22.8%, 17.5% were observed. There was no significant difference in the age of presentation (P=0.6), gender (P=0.8), prematurity (P=0.5), deprivation indices (P=0.68), refraction (P=0.7), OEIA (P=0.6), DVD (P=0.7) or follow up (P=0.3) between the three groups. The preoperative angle of esotropia was smaller in the observation group (P=0.04). The post-operative angle of esotropia was not statistically significant between botulinum toxin or surgery (P=0.3) though the age of intervention was earlier in the botulinum group (P=0.007). Early intervention did not influence the motor post intervention outcomes between 0-10 prism dioptres of esotropia (P=0.78). Amblyopia (P=0.02) and latent nystagmus (P=0.009) was more common in the observation group.
The incidence of EIE in the UK is considerably lower than reported in other population-based studies. The preferred method of treatment was surgical with earlier intervention in those treated with botulinum toxin. An early age of intervention did not influence motor outcomes. Parental choice and amblyopia treatment were reasons cited for conservative management in the observational group.
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