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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 252-253

Asymptomatic Goldenhar syndrome in an adult

1 Cornea and Refractive Services, Aravind Eye Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Puducherry, India
2 Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Services, Aravind Eye Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Puducherry, India

Date of Submission18-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance21-Mar-2021
Date of Web Publication08-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bharat Gurnani
Consultant Cornea and Refractive Services, Aravind Eye Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Puducherry - 605 007
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kjo.kjo_20_21

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How to cite this article:
Gurnani B, Kaur K. Asymptomatic Goldenhar syndrome in an adult. Kerala J Ophthalmol 2021;33:252-3

How to cite this URL:
Gurnani B, Kaur K. Asymptomatic Goldenhar syndrome in an adult. Kerala J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 May 22];33:252-3. Available from: http://www.kjophthal.com/text.asp?2021/33/3/252/331922

A 60-year-old elderly female presented to our clinic for routine examination. There was no significant past history. Snellen's best-corrected visual acuity in both eyes (BE) was 6/6 with − 2D sphere. Intraocular pressure by noncontact tonometry was 14 mmHg in the right eye (RE) and 16 mmHg in the left eye (LE). Slit lamp examination in the RE revealed upper lid [Figure 1]a coloboma with papilloma [Figure 1]b and early cataract. Slit lamp evaluation in the LE revealed small temporal whitish elevated epibulbar dermoid abutting the limbus at 3'O clock [Figure 1]c with early cataract. Fundoscopy was within normal limits in BE. General examination revealed preauricular appendages on both the ears [Figure 2]a and [Figure 2]b. Looking at the clinical picture, a diagnosis of Goldenhar syndrome (GS) with lenticular myopia was made.[1] As the patient was happy with her vision, she was advised best-corrected glasses and observation for GS.
Figure 1: (a) Image of the right eye depicting upper lid papilloma with skin tag suggestive of Goldenhar syndrome (b) Image of the right eye depicting upper lid coloboma (c) Image of the left eye depicting temporal epibulbar epidermoid

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Figure 2: (a) Image of the right ear depicting preauricular appendage (b) Image of the left ear depicting preauricular skin appendage

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  Clinical Signs Top

  • Eyes: Microphthalmia, epibulbar dermoids/limbal dermoids, lipodermoids, and coloboma
  • Ear: Anotia
  • Face: Marked facial asymmetry with unilateral macrostomia, aplasia, or hypoplasia of the mandibular ramus and condyle may be seen. Hypoplasia of the zygomatic area
  • Skeletal alterations: Cranium bifidum, microcephaly, dolichocephaly, plagiocephaly, spina bifida, hemivertebrae, butterfly, fused, and hypoplastic vertebrae like vertebral anomalies have been seen
  • Other systems: Anomalies affecting trachea, lung, heart, kidney, and gastrointestinal systems
  • Seen in children: Congenital anomaly of mesoblasts giving rise to branchial and vertebral anomalies.[2]

  Described By Top

  • 1861 – Classical features seen by Canton and then 20 years later by Von Arlt
  • 1952 – Goldenhar recorded hemifacial microsomia and epibulbar dermoids
  • 1963 – Gorlin et al. suggested the name occulo-auriculo-vertebral dysplasia
  • 1978 – Smith used the term facio-auriculo-vertebral sequence to include both hemifacial microsomia and GS.

Why it occurs?

Various hypotheses are:

  1. Gorlin and Pindborg hypothesized that an unknown primary cause of faulty embryological development causes abnormality of the mesoblasts giving rise to branchial and vertebral anomalies
  2. Jong Bloet suggested that the syndrome was a result of fertilization of overripe or aged ovum
  3. Recent accepted theory states imbalance in cells during the blastogenesis period (30–45 days of intrauterine life) of embryo formation. It is found to involve the derivatives of the first and second branchial arches.[3]

What else to examine?

Multisystem examination to rule out

  1.  Treacher Collins syndrome More Details –similar features with a bilateral presentation
  2. Townes–Brocks syndrome shows thumb anomalies, anal defects, and renal anomalies which are not seen in GS
  3. Linear nevus sebaceous of Jadassohn depicts cloudy cornea, warty cutaneous lesions, infantile spasms not seen in GS
  4. CHARGE syndrome – characteristic semilunar canal anomalies and cranial nerve dysfunctions while mandibulofacial dysostosis can be differentiated by esophageal atresia and microcephaly.[3]

Take home message

  1. GS in an adult has rarely been reported[4]
  2. Patients in various age groups can have varied manifestations as phenotype can vary greatly in its severity depending on the activation and expression of the defective gene
  3. Asymptomatic cases of GS can be observed.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient has given her consent for her images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patient understand that name and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Dhingra D, Joshi G, Kaushik S, Pandav SS. Anterior segment dysgenesis and secondary glaucoma in Goldenhar syndrome. Indian J Ophthalmol 2019;67:1751-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Kokavec R. Goldenhar syndrome with various clinical manifestations. Cleft Palate Craniofac J 2006;43:628-34.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bekibele CO, Ademola SA, Amanor-Boadu SD, Akang EE, Ojemakinde KO. Goldenhar syndrome: A case report and literature review. West Afr J Med 2005;24:77-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
Mitu F, Voloşciuc M, Mitu M, Arsenescu C, Arhire O, Pandele GI, et al. Sindromul Goldenhar la adult [Goldenhar syndrome in adults]. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2000;104:127-32. Romanian. PMID: 12089913.  Back to cited text no. 4


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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