Lateral incomitance in exotropia: Fact or artifact?

M. X. Repka, K. A. Arnoldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The prevalence of significant lateral incomitance in patients with nonparetic exotropia is reported to be 22%. We speculated that measurement artifact may be the cause for some cases of apparent lateral incomitance. We measured the effective power of plastic ophthalmic prisms using a helium-neon laser in the frontal plane position and at 10°, 20°, and 30° of rotation from the frontal plane. The rotated prisms represented the situation in which a neutralizing prism rotates with the head during measurement of lateral gaze positions. For prisms of 35 prism diopters or more, even 10° of rotation produced significant artifactual incomitance. For smaller prisms, 20° or more of rotation was necessary to induce significant lateral incomitance. We prospectively measured 40 consecutive patients with exotropia. Only three patients (9%) had true incomitance greater than 5Δ, and only one had incomitance in both directions of gaze. Significant lateral incomitance could be induced in every patient examined by improperly positioning the neutralizing prism. Because the detection of lateral incomitance causes most strabismus surgeons to reduce the amount of surgery they perform, special care is necessary when measuring deviations in lateral gazes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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