Ophthalmological Evaluation in Children Presenting with a Primary Brain Tumor

Myrthe A. Nuijts, Inge Stegeman, Giorgio L. Porro, Josje C. Duvekot, Michelle B. van Egmond-Ebbeling, Denise C. P. van der Linden, Eelco W. Hoving, Antoinette Y. N. Schouten-van Meeteren, Saskia M. Imhof

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Background:Children with a brain tumor are prone to develop visual impairment, which to date is often underestimated and unrecognized. Our aim was to assess the prevalence of ophthalmological evaluation and abnormal ophthalmological findings, and investigate whether demographic and tumor-related characteristics are associated with abnormal ophthalmological findings in children presenting with a primary brain tumor.Methods:Medical records of all 90 children diagnosed with a primary brain tumor between June 2018 and May 2019 and treated at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, a tertiary referral center in the Netherlands, were retrospectively reviewed. Univariate regression analysis was used to investigate associations between demographic, tumor-related and clinical characteristics, and abnormal ophthalmological findings.Results:Sixty children (34 male [56.7%]; median [range] age, 9.3 [0-16.9] years) underwent ophthalmological evaluation within 6 weeks before or after diagnosis, 11 children (5 male [45.5%]; median [range] age, 5.7 [0.1-17.2] years) were seen more than 6 weeks before or after diagnosis, and 19 children (7 male [36.8%]; median [range] age, 7.2 [1.9-16.6] years) did not receive ophthalmological evaluation within at least 6 months from diagnosis. A total of 19 children (21.1%) presented with visual symptoms as first sign leading to the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Children who presented with visual symptoms (odds ratio [OR], 22.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.90-103.60) and/or hydrocephalus (OR, 3.60; 95% CI, 1.38-9.36) at diagnosis were more often seen for ophthalmological evaluation. The most common abnormal ophthalmological findings were eye movement disorders (66.0%), papilledema (44.1%), and visual field defects (58.1%). Eye movement disorders occurred more frequently in patients with an infratentorial tumor (OR, 4.71; 95% CI, 1.03-21.65). The risk of papilledema was associated with older age (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.05-1.34), hydrocephalus (OR, 9.63; 95% CI, 2.68-34.61), and infratentorial (OR, 9.11; 95% CI, 1.77-46.78) and supratentorial (OR, 13.13; 95% CI, 1.92-89.52) tumors.Conclusions:In this study, most children with a primary brain tumor underwent ophthalmological evaluation around diagnosis, 21% of the children were not evaluated. The high prevalence of abnormal ophthalmological findings stresses the importance of early standardized ophthalmological evaluation to detect visual impairment and provide timely treatment to potentially prevent permanent visual loss.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E99-E108
JournalJournal of neuro-ophthalmology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

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