Causes of ocular torticollis

Torticollis is a vicious position of the head whose origin may be congenital due to alteration of the neck muscles or ocular.

Torticollis of ocular origin may occur in the following circumstances:

  • Strabismus: In infantile strabismus and especially in congenital strabismus the presence of torticollis should raise suspicion of a torsional or restrictive origin of the same.
  • Nystagmus: Nystagmus is a back-and-forth movement of the eyes that generally causes poor vision. In some cases the “tremor” of the eyes decreases and attenuates in a certain position and therefore the head turns in the opposite direction.
  • Palpebral ptosis: In bilateral palpebral ptosis (when the eyelids are drooping beyond the pupil) the patient raises the chin to be able to see.
  • Oculomotor paralysis: In both children and adults, the torticollis position is adopted to suppress the diplopia that the imbalance may generate.

Ocular torticollis should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible, preferably before the age of three, to prevent the problem from becoming chronic and causing irreversible neck muscle contractures. For this reason, it is important to check whether the child’s head always tilts to the same side. In such cases, an ophthalmologist should be consulted to examine the child’s visual health and rule out a suspected strabismus.

On the other hand, it is always advisable to have regular ophthalmological check-ups for children. This way, eye problems can be detected in time, since they themselves will not realize if they have poor vision. In this way, we would benefit their development, being able to prevent physical and psychological pathologies.

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At Clínica García de Oteyza, we are experts in pediatric ophthalmology. If your child adopts an unconventional head position, contact us.