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Cancer Health Center

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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Late Effects of the Special Senses

Table 15. Auditory Late Effects continued...

Survivors of childhood cancer are at increased risk for ocular late effects related to both glucocorticoid and radiation exposure to the eye. The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) reported that survivors 5 or more years from diagnosis are at increased risk for cataracts, glaucoma, legal blindness, double vision, and dry eye, compared with siblings. The dose of radiation to the eye is significantly associated with risk of cataracts, legal blindness, double vision, and dry eye, in a dose-dependent manner. Risk of cataracts was associated with a radiation dose of 3,000 cGy or more to the posterior fossa, temporal lobe and exposure to prednisone. The cumulative incidence of cataracts, double vision, dry eye, and legal blindness continued to increase up to 20 years after diagnosis for those who received more than 500 cGy to the eye.[33]

Ocular complications such as cataracts and dry-eye syndrome are common after stem cell transplant in childhood. Compared with patients treated with busulfan or other chemotherapy, patients treated with single-dose or fractionated TBI are at increased risk of cataracts. Risk ranges from approximately 10% to 60% at 10 years posttreatment, depending on the total dose and fractionation, with a shorter latency period and more severe cataracts noted after single fraction and higher dose or dose-rate TBI.[34,35,36,37] Patients receiving TBI with biologically effective doses of less than 40 Gy have a less than 10% chance of developing severe cataracts.[37] Corticosteroids and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) may further increase risk.[34,38] Epithelial superficial keratopathy has been shown to be more common if the patient was exposed to repeated high trough levels of cyclosporine A.[39]

Table 16. Ocular Late Effects

Predisposing TherapyOcular/Vision EffectsHealth Screening/Interventions
GVHD = graft-versus-host disease.
Busulfan; corticosteroids; radiation impacting the eyeCataractsHistory: decreased acuity, halos, diplopia
Eye exam: visual acuity, funduscopy
Ophthalmology consultation
Radiation impacting the eye including radioiodine (I-131)Ocular toxicity (orbital hypoplasia, lacrimal duct atrophy, xerophthalmia [keratoconjunctivitis sicca], keratitis, telangiectasias, retinopathy, optic chiasm neuropathy, enophthalmos, chronic painful eye, maculopathy, papillopathy, glaucoma)History: visual changes (decreased acuity, halos, diplopia), dry eye, persistent eye irritation, excessive tearing, light sensitivity, poor night vision, painful eye
Eye exam: visual acuity, funduscopy
Ophthalmology consultation
Hematopoietic cell transplantation with any history of chronic GVHDXerophthalmia (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)History: dry eye (burning, itching, foreign body sensation, inflammation)
Eye exam: visual acuity, funduscopy
EnucleationImpaired cosmesis; poor prosthetic fit; orbital hypoplasiaOcular prosthetic evaluation
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