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Causes of poor eye contact in infants: a population-based study. a population-based study

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BACKGROUND: Establishing eye contact between infants and parents is important for early parent-child bonding and lack of eye contact may be a sign of severe underlying disease. The aim of the study was to evaluate the causes of poor or lacking eye contact in infants.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study reviewing all referrals of infants ≤1 year of age from January 1rst, 2016 to December 31rst, 2018. Medical information was retrieved from patient files covering pregnancy, birth, diagnostic work-up and ocular parameters such as refraction, visual acuity and structural findings.

RESULTS: We identified 99 infants with poor or lacking eye contact. The relative frequency of causes was neurologic disease 36.4% (36/99), delayed visual maturation 24.2% (24/99), ocular disease 21.2% (21/99) and idiopathic infantile nystagmus 4.0% (4/99). Fourteen infants had a visual function within age-related norms at first examination despite poor eye contact at the time of referral. Of the infants with available data, 18/27 (33.3%) with neurologic cause, 15/23 (65.2%) with delayed visual maturation and 9/21 (42.9%) with ocular cause had visual acuity within the age-related norm at latest follow-up (0-41 months). In 23 infants, a genetic cause was found.

CONCLUSION: Poor eye contact in infants may be a sign of severe underlying disease, such as neurological or ocular disease. Close collaboration between pediatric ophthalmologists and neuro-pediatricians are warranted in the management of these infants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number388
JournalBMC Ophthalmology
Volume21
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)388
ISSN1471-2415
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Child, Child, Preschool, Cross-Sectional Studies, Follow-Up Studies, Genetic Diseases, X-Linked, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Nystagmus, Congenital, Visual Acuity

ID: 69981433