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Considerations on the etiology of congenital Brown syndrome

Coussens, Traceya,b; Ellis, Forrest J.a,b

Current Opinion in Ophthalmology: July 2015 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - p 357–361
doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000191
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Purpose of review Brown syndrome is an ocular motility disorder characterized by limited volitional and passive elevation of the eye in adduction. Although originally thought due to abnormalities in the trochlea or tendon sheath (limiting the free movement of the tendon through the trochlea), recent evidence suggests that some cases of congenital Brown syndrome may be related to neurodevelopmental abnormalities of the extraocular muscles (congenital cranial dysinnervation disorders, CCDD).

Recent findings CCDD is a term encompassing congenital abnormalities of eye movements caused by congenital innervational abnormalities. The abnormal development of cranial nerve nuclei or abnormalities in cranial nerve axonal transport affects the development of the extraocular muscle(s). Currently, congenital fibrosis of the extraocular muscles, Duane syndrome, Moebius syndrome, Horizontal gaze palsy and progressive scoliosis, and synergistic divergence are included as CCDDs. In addition, congenial ptosis, Jaw Wink ptosis, and congenital superior oblique palsy are also included. Recently, it has been suggested that some cases of congenital Brown syndrome and congenital superior oblique paresis are related, and these entities may be part of the CCDDs spectrum.

Summary Important findings regarding the cause of congenital Brown syndrome will be reviewed.

aNorthern Virginia Ophthalmology Associates

bInova FairFax Hospital for Children, Falls Church, Virginia, USA

Correspondence to Forrest J. Ellis, MD, Northern Virginia Ophthalmology Associates, 6231 Leesburg Pike, Suite 608, Falls Church VA, VA 22044, USA. Tel: +1 703 534 3900; e-mail:

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