Eye divergence triples mental illness risk

ROCHESTER, Minn., Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Children with misaligned eyes have a higher risk of later developing mental illness, U.S.doctors say.

The Mayo Clinic study, published in Pediatrics, finds children whose eyes deviated outward had a three times increased risk over children with normal eye alignment of developing mental illness by early adulthood.


However, those children whose eyes deviated inwardly did not have any greater risk of developing mental illness than children with normal alignment.

The Rochester, Minn., researchers examined the medical records of 407 patients with misaligned eyes -- a condition known as strabismus. The records of children matched for age and sex but with normal eye alignment were used as controls. In the study, children whose eyes diverged outward -- a condition known as exotropia -- were differentiated from those whose eyes deviated inward -- a condition known as esotropia.

"Pediatricians and family practice physicians who see children with strabismus should be aware of the increased risk of mental illness," Dr. Brian Mohney, the study leader, said in a statement. "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."


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