Vision - CDM


  • Major and clinically relevant eye manifestations in congenital and childhood-onset DM1 can include hyperopia, eyelid ptosis, incomplete eyelid closure, strabismus, and other eye movement abnormalities.

  • Cataracts, while a common concern in adults, are almost never seen in children.

  • Bilateral eyelid ptosis is a frequent feature. In severe cases, it can obstruct vision and may require surgical or nonsurgical intervention.

  • Weakness of eyelid closure muscles is also a common problem and can cause corneal damage.

  • Otic infections during infancy manifested as an infection of the upper respiratory tract are frequent, and typically require surgical interventions, such as uni or bilateral tympanostomy.


  • Signs of upper respiratory tract infections, especially when manifesting as an otitis media.


  • Discuss the following tests with your doctor:

    • LETTERS Baseline audiometry, especially at school age.


  • Signs of strabismus or other ocular misalignment using a cover/uncover test. Persistent dysconjugate gaze in childhood can result in amblyopia.

  • Eyelid ptosis; if ptosis becomes severe and interferes with vision, intervention such as eyelid “crutches” that can be inserted into glasses may be warranted. Try crutches as a remedy for ptosis before eyelid surgery is considered, due to anesthesia risks.

  • Refer to:

    • An optometrist for examination at diagnosis and thereafter at least annually to identify hyperopia, astigmatism, strabismus.

    • An ENT if frequent ear infections are present.

    • An ophthalmologist for regular follow-up if eye movement abnormalities or weakness of eyelid closure are putting vision at risk. Ophthalmic lubricants for dry eye can be considered.