Help and frequently asked questions

Could I have contact lenses with Duane's syndrome?


Everyone has a collection of delicate eye muscles that are instrumental in helping to move the eyes in the same direction. Duane's syndrome is a disorder that impacts the ability of these muscles in moving the eye inward, outward or in both directions. It is also known as Duane's retraction syndrome, eye retraction syndrome or Stilling-Turk-Duane syndrome.

The disorder is congenital, meaning it is usually present right from birth. It is characterised by a difficulty in moving the eye toward the nose, out in the direction of the ear or in both directions. Sometimes, the syndrome can also cause the eye to move upward or downward when the person attempts to move it inwards. It is usually grouped under the larger term of 'strabismus', which is the name given to problems with misalignment of the eyes. It's more common in girls than in boys and is usually able to be detected before the age of 10.

Typically, only one eye is affected by the syndrome - but it is not unheard of for both eyes to have the condition. There are three different types of Duane's syndrome. Type one is most common and is characterised by limited abduction (movement outwards toward the ear), while adduction (moving the eye inwards) is relatively normal. Type two is characterised by limited adduction but normal abduction. Type three involves difficulty in moving the eyes in both directions.However, Duane's syndrome will not exclude you from wearing contact lenses if that is what you prefer. See your optometrist for a full eye test, and a prescription to gain an accurate reading of the level of correction you need.

Your optometrist will also advise you on whether you need a specific type of contact lens, and how to care for your lenses appropriately on a day to day basis.