Author(s):Kushner BJ. Conservative management of intermittent exotropia to defer or avoid surgery. J AAPOS. 2019 Oct;23(5):256.e1-256.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2019.06.010. Epub 2019 Sep 14. PMID 31526859
Journal: Journal Of Aapos : The Official Publication Of The American Association For Pediatric Ophthalmology And Strabismus, Volume 23, Issue 5, Oct 2019
BACKGROUND Surgery for intermittent exotropia performed at a very young age has poorer sensory outcomes than surgery performed later; moreover, postoperative recurrence is common, regardless of age. Alternate occlusion decreases the size of the exotropia and improves control. The purpose of this study was to report the long-term effects of part-time alternate occlusion and overminus spectacles combined with prism on delaying or avoiding surgery in intermittent exotropia.
METHODS The study included consecutive patients from 1979 to 2010 who had poorly controlled intermittent exotropia and were treated with alternate occlusion, followed in some cases by overminus spectacles with base-in prism. Outcome measures were initial improvement and subsequent time to surgery, if required.
RESULTS A total of 279 patients had initial control poor enough to otherwise be considered candidates for surgery. After occlusion therapy, 219 (78%) improved their angle and control, and 62 (22%) converted to an exophoria. After 1 year, 9 cases deteriorated, and surgery was recommended. In 207 (74%), conservative treatment delayed surgery for at least 1 year. At 20 years, 42 of 279 patients were still being followed. Of these, 22 of 219 (7%) were known to have not undergone surgery, and 127 (45%) had undergone surgery; 130 (47%) were lost to follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS Part-time alternate occlusion and overminus spectacles with prism can defer the need for surgery in a large percentage of patients with intermittent exotropia; for a small number it may be curative.