We have a special interest in children’s eye care. Sometimes, a child will present with a tic related to their eye.
Common ocular tics include eye-rolling and blinking. Ocular tics are a common finding in Tourette syndrome. It is common for eye doctors to tell parents that ocular tics will go away on their own. That is, in fact, what happens about half of the time, according to a new study published in the Journal of AAPOS : The Official Publication of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus/American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.
The authors of the study followed a group of 43 children who were diagnosed with ocular tics for an average of 6.1 years. In just under half of these patients, the ocular tics remained over that time period. It is a good idea for parents of children with ocular tics to take their children to the eye doctor regularly for monitoring to ensure that the tics are not a sign of a wider problem such as Tourette syndrome or ADHD.
At the initial visit, none of the children had a diagnosis of Tourette syndrome or or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). At follow-up, this is what the researchers reported:
14 of the 32 children (44%) had persistent ocular tics, 3 (9%) reported new nonocular motor tics, 5 (16%) reported new vocal tics, and 4 (13%) developed both nonocular motor and vocal tics. One patient (3%) was formally diagnosed with Tourette syndrome during the follow-up interval, and 3 (9%) were diagnosed with ADHD.
The study suggests that ocular tics go away for about half of children and stay the same for many. Some children develop other problems new tics unrelated to the eyes.
Journal of AAPOS : The Official Publication of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus/American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
The Long-Term Outcomes of Ocular Tics in a Pediatric Neuro-Ophthalmology PracticeJ AAPOS 2014 Feb 01;18(1)31-35, ER Bisker, CM McClelland, LW Brown, GT Liu