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Morning Glory Syndrome

Morning Glory Syndrome

Focused Health Topics
Contributed byAlexander Enabnit+3 moreSep 04, 2023


Morning Glory Syndrome (MGS) is a rare congenital anomaly affecting the optic nerve and the retina. It is characterized by a distinctive optic disc anomaly resembling a morning glory flower, hence the name. This article provides an overview of Morning Glory Syndrome, including its clinical features, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and potential complications.

Clinical Features:

Morning Glory Syndrome is typically diagnosed during infancy or early childhood. The characteristic features of MGS may include:

  • Morning Glory Disc Anomaly: The optic disc appears as a funnel-shaped depression with central whitish tissue surrounded by radial vessels resembling the petals of a morning glory flower.
  • Retinal Abnormalities: Retinal abnormalities, such as retinal detachment, retinal pigment epithelial changes, or retinal vascular anomalies, may be present.
  • Visual Impairment: Visual impairment can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of optic nerve involvement and associated retinal abnormalities.
  • Strabismus and Nystagmus: Children with MGS may also present with strabismus (misalignment of the eyes) and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement).

Causes and Pathogenesis:

The exact cause of Morning Glory Syndrome is not fully understood. However, it is believed to result from abnormal development of the optic disc during embryogenesis. Various genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the development of MGS, but no specific causative genes have been identified.


Diagnosing Morning Glory Syndrome involves a comprehensive evaluation of the optic nerve and retina. The following diagnostic tests may be conducted:

  • Ophthalmic Examination: A detailed examination of the optic disc, retina, and visual function is performed using specialized ophthalmic instruments and techniques.
  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): OCT imaging provides cross-sectional images of the retina, allowing for detailed assessment of the retinal layers and any associated abnormalities.
  • Fluorescein Angiography: This imaging test uses a fluorescent dye to evaluate the blood flow and vasculature of the retina.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI may be performed to assess the extent of optic nerve involvement and rule out any associated brain abnormalities.

Treatment and Management:

The management of Morning Glory Syndrome focuses on preserving visual function, monitoring for complications, and addressing any associated ocular or systemic conditions. Treatment options may include:

  • Correction of Refractive Errors: Glasses or contact lenses may be prescribed to optimize visual acuity.
  • Strabismus Surgery: Surgery may be considered to correct misalignment of the eyes (strabismus) and improve binocular vision.
  • Management of Complications: Treatment and monitoring of any associated retinal abnormalities, such as retinal detachment or vascular anomalies, may be necessary.
  • Visual Rehabilitation: Visual rehabilitation programs, including vision therapy and low-vision aids, can help maximize visual potential and improve quality of life.


Morning Glory Syndrome is associated with various potential complications, including:

  • Retinal Detachment: The presence of retinal abnormalities increases the risk of retinal detachment, which can lead to severe vision loss if not promptly treated.
  • Vision Loss: The extent of visual impairment can vary, ranging from mild to severe, depending on the severity of optic nerve and retinal involvement.
  • Developmental Delays: Some children with Morning Glory Syndrome may have associated developmental delays or neurologic abnormalities.


Morning Glory Syndrome is a rare congenital anomaly affecting the optic nerve and retina. Early diagnosis and comprehensive management are crucial for preserving visual function and preventing complications. Close collaboration between ophthalmologists, pediatricians, and other specialists is essential to provide optimal care for individuals with Morning Glory Syndrome.

Hashtags: #MorningGlorySyndrome #OpticDiscAnomaly #RetinalAbnormalities #VisualImpairment #OphthalmicExamination #OpticalCoherenceTomography #FluoresceinAngiography #MRI #StrabismusSurgery #VisualRehabilitation #RetinalDetachment #DevelopmentalDelays

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On the Article

Krish Tangella MD, MBA picture
Approved by

Krish Tangella MD, MBA

Pathology, Medical Editorial Board, DoveMed Team
Alexander Enabnit picture

Alexander Enabnit

Senior Editorial Staff
Alexandra Warren picture

Alexandra Warren

Senior Editorial Staff
Sandhya Kumar picture

Sandhya Kumar

Editorial Staff


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