Children With Intermittent Exotropia at Increased Risk for Mental Illness as Young Adults

June 10, 2009

A study conducted by Jeff A. McKenzie, B.A., and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic found that children with intermittent exotropia (a prevalent form of strabismus in which the eyes deviate outward) had a nearly threefold increased risk of developing mental illness as young adults.

In terms of specific mental disorders and conditions, the study found that children with exotropia were more likely than controls to:

  • Have a greater number of psychiatric disorders
  • Use psychotropic medications
  • Require psychiatric hospitalization
  • Have emergency department visits
  • Have suicidal thoughts
  • Attempt suicide

For reasons that were unclear, the rates of psychiatric disorders were significantly higher in boys than girls. Although specific types of mental health disorders differed by gender, with boys more likely to develop depression and adjustment disorders and girls more likely to have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and learning disabilities.

A limitation of the study is that it was undertaken in a single location with an ethnically homogenous population, so its findings may not be applicable to other populations.

Read further details about the study on MedPage Today.




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