Eye divergence in children triples risk of mental illness

November 26, 2008

Children whose eyes are misaligned and point outward are at significantly increased risk of developing mental illness by early adulthood, according to findings of a Mayo Clinic study published this month in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The retrospective study examined the medical records of 407 patients with strabismus (misaligned eyes) and compared them with records of children matched for age and sex but with normal eye alignment. Children with eyes that diverged (exotropia) were three times more likely to develop a psychiatric disorder than were the control subjects, while those with inward deviating eyes (esotropia) showed no increase in the incidence of mental illnesses.

Brian Mohney, M.D., the Mayo Clinic pediatric ophthalmologist who led the study, says the results can help alert physicians to potential problems in their pediatric patients. "Pediatricians and family practice physicians who see children with strabismus should be aware of the increased risk of mental illness," says Dr. Mohney. "They can hopefully be alert to the earliest signs of psychiatric problems in patients with exotropia, so they can consider having them seen by a psychologist or psychiatrist."

Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes that affects three to five percent of children, and about 125,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.

Article: pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/122/5/1033

Source: Mayo Clinic

Explore further: Is your fear of radiation irrational?

Related Stories

Is your fear of radiation irrational?

July 14, 2015

Bad Gastein in the Austrian Alps. It's 10am on a Wednesday in early March, cold and snowy – but not in the entrance to the main gallery of what was once a gold mine. Togged out in swimming trunks, flip-flops and a bath ...

Rivers beyond regeneration

November 4, 2014

Best-known for his treatment of shell-shock victims in World War I, a new study examines William Rivers' crucial, but often overlooked contributions to the study of human culture – revealing how, late in his career, they ...

The playground of neural engineering

May 8, 2014

A game player uses Thalia, a wearable interactive system, and then smiles in order to keep a unicorn in flight as it jumps through rainbows.

Up in arms

January 28, 2014

In December 2012, when Adam Lanza stormed into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., with a rifle and killed 20 children and six adult staff members, the United States found itself immersed in debates about ...

Hidden benefits of computer games

December 12, 2013

Computer games can be a popular item on many kids' Christmas wish list. But for some parents, gaming has been linked to a range of negative connotations, from time wasting to promoting violence.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.