To examine the yield of ophthalmologic examination in the diagnostic workup of unexplained sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in children.
Retrospective analysis of ophthalmologic findings in children with unilateral or bilateral SNHL between January 1998 and May 2000.
Tertiary care university hospital.
Children 18 years or younger presenting with unilateral or bilateral SNHL.
Of the 49 patients with SNHL for whom ophthalmologic examination results were available, 15 (31%) had ocular abnormalities. Hyperopia was the most common abnormality, present in 7 patients (46%). Myopia was found in 2 patients (13%) and astigmatism in 1 (2%). Two other patients had multiple abnormalities: one with hyperopia and astigmatism and the other with myopia and astigmatism. The remaining 4 patients had the following abnormalities: Lisch nodules, esotropia, ptosis, and allergic conjunctivitis. As a result of ophthalmologic examination, 5 interventions were performed in 4 children: 2 children received prescription lenses; 2 children underwent surgery; and 1 child was treated with eyedrops. Ophthalmologic examination in 2 children contributed to the diagnosis of a hearing loss syndrome.
In children with SNHL, ophthalmologic examination is useful in evaluating visual acuity and determining or confirming the cause of hearing impairment.