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Duane’s Syndrome - Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which specialist should I consult to rule out Duane’s syndrome?

You should consult an eye specialist who will conduct further tests

2. Can there be other abnormalities of the eye besides involvement of lateral rectus muscle in DRS?

Usually DRS occurs in isolation and the prognosis with regular followup is excellent. In a small proportion of cases, other eye problems such as nystagmus (abnormal involuntary eye movements), cataract, microphthalmos (small eye), involvement of optic nerve, pupillary abnormalities, and presence of crocodile tears may be seen.

3. Can other organs besides the eyes be affected in DRS?

In more than 70% of cases, Duane’s syndrome occurs alone. However, in approximately 30% of children with Duane syndrome have other birth defects, such as hearing impairment, spinal and vertebral abnormalities, and syndromes such as Goldenhar syndrome (facial deformities) and Holt-Oram syndrome (upper limbs and heart defects).

4. Will surgery cure the condition?

Surgery will be required in severe cases to improve squint and abnormal head posturing and vision. However it cannot cure the condition as the primary abnormality is in the brain signaling and not locally in the eye.
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5. Can Duane’s syndrome be passed on to the offspring?

The sporadic form of DRS is not hereditary and occurs spontaneously. This type affects only one eye and accounts for 80% of cases. The remaining 20% is the familial form which affects both eyes is hereditary but the severity of the condition in the offspring varies.

6. Can Duane’s syndrome be acquired later in life?

Yes, very rarely. Almost all cases are present since birth, either sporadic or familial. In very rare instances, paralysis of the lateral rectus muscle can cause Duane’s syndrome later in the life.

7. What is the longterm prognosis of Duane’s syndrome?

The longterm prognosis is generally excellent. Most cases have normal vision requiring no treatment or need spectacles to improve vision. Surgery is only rarely indicated.

8. What are the possible complications of DRS?

Rare complications include lazy eye leading to loss of vision of the affected eye. In severe cases the eye shows many abnormalities and other organs may also be involved as described above.

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