An association between diagnosis of childhood strabismus and increased risk of development of several mental health disorders by early adulthood has been reported in the literature. A recent large, retrospective cohort study used data from multiple large health organizations in the United States to confirm this relationship in patients up to age 15. The researchers presented their findings at the 2021 ARVO virtual meeting.

The team identified 131,413 patients who fell within this demographic (average age 3.7) through a electronic health records research network of multiple large health organizations in the United States. They then calculated the relative risk (RR) of being diagnosed with any one of several mental health disorders between a patient with strabismus vs. one without.

The investigators found that patients with a history of strabismus were more likely to be diagnosed with several mental health disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (RR: 1.73), major depressive disorder (RR: 1.22), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (RR: 1.57), substance use disorder (RR: 1.60), adjustment disorder (RR: 1.78), obsessive-compulsive disorder (RRL 1.63), post-traumatic stress disorder (RR: 1.21), anorexia (RR: 1.92), conduct disorders (RR: 1.75) and Tourette’s syndrome (RR: 1.34).

“More research is needed to further elucidate these relationships,” the study authors concluded in their ARVO abstract on the work.

Firl K, Raiker R, Pakhchanian H, et al. Associations between a strabismus diagnosis and subsequent mental health disorders in children and adolescents. ARVO 2021 annual conference.