Etiologies of unilateral exophthalmia in children at University Hospital of Brazzaville

  • PW Atipo-Tsiba
  • OF Atipo-Tsiba
  • FA Itiere Odzili
  • B Issubu Ibara
  • G Ekouya Bowassa


Bacground: Exophthalmia is an abnormal movement of the eye in an antero-posterior plane. It reflects the existence of an expansive intra-orbital process (new formation or abnormal increase of the size of a  normal anatomical structure). Inspection and Hertel’s exophthalmometer may suffice for the diagnosis, even in its minor forms especially when it is unilateral. In poor countries, infant mortality linked to the causes of unilateral exophthalmia (UE) is lly high into question the infections and cancers.
Objective: To list the main causes of UE in children at the University Hospital of Brazzaville (UHB), and assess the prognosis with a decline of two months.
Design : A descriptive and analytical historical cohort.
Setting: The Ophthalmology department of the University Hospital of Brazzaville.
Subjects: Forty eight children seen for UE between January 2009 and December 2013. Each child had been seen three times over a period of two months, with an interval of one month between each consultation.
Results: The mean age was 5.50 ± 1.20 years. Boy/Girl sex ratio was 1.08. Traumatic orbital  haematoma (50%), retinoblastoma (22.91%) and orbital cellulitis (20.83%) were the main etiologies. Metastases (6/18) and ophthalmoplegia (4/18) were the major complications. The overall mortality rate was 20.83%, with a share of retinoblastomarelated mortality at 80%.
Conclusion: Early diagnosis of retinoblastoma, before the onset of proptosis, can reduce paediatric deaths relating to unilateral exophthalmia.

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eISSN: 0012-835X