Efficacy of spectacles in persons with albinism

Jill Anderson, Jane Lavoie, Kim Merrill, Richard A. King, C. Gail Summers

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37 Scopus citations


Patients with albinism have varying degrees of reduced vision, strabismus, iris transillumination, nystagmus, fundus hypopigmentation, and foveal hypoplasia. High refractive errors are common, but reduced vision persists due to nonrefractive factors, causing reluctance by some clinicians to prescribe spectacles. We sought to evaluate the effect of spectacle correction of refractive error on clinical findings and recorded compliance with refractive corrections, as little detailed data exist. We prospectively examined 35 consecutive patients with albinism for whom glasses had been prescribed to determine if objective improvement in recognition visual acuity (VA), strabismus, anomalous head posture (AHP), fusion, or stereoacuity occurred with refractive correction. Parents or patients reported compliance with glasses wear (excellent: >75% of awake hours; good: 50-75% of awake hours; fair: 26-50% of awake hours; poor: <25%). Median age was 9.5 years (range: 3 to 30). Median refractive correction was 1.875 D spherical equivalent (range: -9.75 to +8.88 D). Glasses wear was initiated at a median age of 14 months (range: 3 months to 14 years). Mean binocular VA at distance was 20/80.9 corrected and 20/107.6 uncorrected (P < 0.001). Mean VA at near was 20/28.4 corrected and 20/41 uncorrected (P < 0.001). Mean strabismic deviation was 7.2 PD with glasses and 10.0 PD without glasses at distance (P = 0.006) and 10.8 PD with glasses and 14 PD without glasses at near (P = 0.042). Mean AHP at distance was 8.3 degrees with glasses and 7.3 degrees without glasses at distance (P = 0.327) and 4.7 degrees both with and without glasses at near (P = 0.308). Twenty-one patients had fusion with or without glasses, two had fusion only with glasses, and one patient had fusion only without glasses. The other patients did not have any detectable degree of fusion. Twenty-seven individuals had no stereoacuity with or without glasses, five had gross stereoacuity of 3000 seconds of arc both with and without glasses, and three had gross stereoacuity only while wearing glasses. Compliance was excellent in 29 patients, fair in four, and poor in two. This prospective study showed a significant improvement in corrected VA and alignment in persons with albinism, despite overall subnormal acuity. Some individuals also experienced improvement in binocular alignment and AHP. Compliance with spectacles was generally good. Therefore, refractive correction should be encouraged in persons with albinism as improvement in visual function is likely to occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-520
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc., New York, New York.

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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