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Duane syndrome is a rare, congenital disorder affecting eye muscle contraction resulting in misalignment of the eyes. It is usually diagnosed by around the age of ten years.

Patients with Duane syndrome have abnormal eye muscle contraction: certain eye muscles contract when they shouldn't and other muscles fail to contract when they should. DS sufferers have a limited ability to move their eye outward toward the temple and, mostly, a limited ability to move the eye inward toward the nose.

It is thought the condition has its origin in early pregnancy and is caused by the poor development of tiny parts of the brainstem that control the eye muscles.

It has been noted in patients that sometimes when the eye moves towards the nose, the eyeball pulls into the socket and the eye can move upwards or downwards. Patients with DS will often turn their face to maintain proper vision to compensate for the eye misalignment.

Research statistics reveal that in 80% of DS cases, only one eye is ever affected, and it is most often the left eye. But in some cases, both eyes are affected, the one usually more than the other.

Other medical conditions associated with some cases of Duane syndrome include skeletal malformation and ear, kidney and nervous system disorders.

Although full recovery of proper eye alignment in patients with DS may not be possible with eye muscle surgery, such surgery can be beneficial for correcting eye misalignment while looking straight ahead and for removing any abnormal head posture. Surgery also may benefit patients whose abnormal up and down eye movements affect the eye's appearance.

A comprehensive consultation with a pediatric ophthalmologist is essential in determining the right course of treatment action.

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