Three-year observation of children 12 to 35 months old with untreated intermittent exotropia

the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe the clinical course of untreated intermittent exotropia (IXT) in children 12–35 months of age followed for 3 years. Methods: We enrolled 97 children 12–35 months of age with previously untreated IXT who had been randomly assigned to the observation arm of a randomised trial of short-term occlusion versus observation. Participants were observed unless deterioration criteria were met at a follow-up visit occurring at 3 months, 6 months, and 6-month intervals thereafter for 3 years. The primary outcome was deterioration of the IXT by 3 years, defined as (1) a constant exotropia ≥10 prism dioptres (∆) at distance and near (i.e., motor deterioration) or (2) treatment prescribed despite not having met motor deterioration. The primary analysis used the Kaplan-Meier method to determine the cumulative proportion of participants meeting deterioration by three years and 95% confidence interval (CI). Results: The cumulative probability of deterioration by 3 years was 28% (95% CI = 20%–39%). Of the 24 participants meeting the primary outcome of deterioration, seven met motor deterioration and 17 were prescribed treatment without meeting motor deterioration. The cumulative probability of motor deterioration by 3 years was 10% (95% CI = 5%–19%). Conclusions: Given the modest rate of motor deterioration over three years, watchful waiting may be a reasonable management approach in 12- to 35-month-old children with IXT. To confirm this recommendation would require a long-term randomised trial of immediate treatment versus observation followed by deferred treatment if needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-215
Number of pages14
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • exotropia
  • intermittent exotropia
  • observational study
  • paediatric
  • strabismus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Optometry
  • Sensory Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-year observation of children 12 to 35 months old with untreated intermittent exotropia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this