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Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 279-285

The role of extraocular muscle pulleys in incomitant non-paralytic strabismus

Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA

Correspondence Address:
Robert A Clark
4100 Long Beach Blvd, #108, Long Beach, California, 90807
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-9233.159698

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The rectus extraocular muscles (EOMs) and inferior oblique muscle have paths through the orbit constrained by connective tissue pulleys. These pulleys shift position during contraction and relaxation of the EOMs, dynamically changing the biomechanics of force transfer from the tendon onto the globe. The paths of the EOMs are tightly conserved in normal patients and disorders in the location and/or stability of the pulleys can create patterns of incomitant strabismus that may mimic oblique muscle dysfunction and cranial nerve paresis. Developmental disorders of pulley location can occur in conjunction with large, obvious abnormalities of orbital anatomy (e.g., craniosynostosis syndromes) or subtle, isolated abnormalities in the location of one or more pulleys. Acquired disorders of pulley location can be divided into four broad categories: Connective tissue disorders (e.g., Marfan syndrome), globe size disorders (e.g., high myopia), senile degeneration (e.g., sagging eye syndrome), and trauma (e.g., orbital fracture or postsurgical). Recognition of these disorders is important because abnormalities in pulley location and movement are often resistant to standard surgical approaches that involve strengthening or weakening the oblique muscles or changing the positions of the EOM insertions. Preoperative diagnosis is aided by: (1) Clinical history of predisposing risk factors, (2) observation of malpositioning of the medial canthus, lateral canthus, and globe, and (3) gaze-controlled orbital imaging using direct coronal slices. Finally, surgical correction frequently involves novel techniques that reposition and stabilize the pulley and posterior muscle belly within the orbit using permanent scleral sutures or silicone bands without changing the location of the muscle's insertion.

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