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October 1989

Hirschsprung's Disease and Ocular Autonomic Nerve Function

Author Affiliations

Department of Ophthalmology
Department of Paediatric Surgery University Hospital of Wales Heath Park Cardiff CF4 4XW, Wales

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(10):1137. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150220025012

Sir.—We pharmacologically assessed the ocular autonomic nervous systems of 10 children with Hirschsprung's disease, using 0.1% pilocarpine nitrate and 0.5% phenylephrine hydrochloride. Our results did not indicate any significant abnormality in the ocular autonomic nervous systems of children with Hirschsprung's disease, compared with those of normal controls.

Hirschsprung's disease is a congenital anomaly of innervation affecting the intrinsic plexuses of Auerbach and Meissner in the lower gut.1 These autonomic plexuses are derived from the craniocervical neural crest.2 The superior cervical ganglion (sympathetic) and the ciliary ganglion (parasympathetic) of the eye are also derived from the craniocervical neural crest.3

Patients and Methods.—Ten children with Hirschsprung's disease, two girls and eight boys, between 4 and 14 years of age were examined. All children had histologically proved Hirschsprung's disease. Twenty age- and sex-matched controls were obtained from our pediatric ophthalmology screening clinics.

Baseline measurements included visual acuity, orthoptic

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