Down's syndrome and early cataract

Br J Ophthalmol. 2006 Aug;90(8):1024-7. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2006.090639. Epub 2006 May 3.


Aims: To estimate the occurrence of early cataract among patients with Down's syndrome and to evaluate the clinical characteristics of the cases.

Methods: Cases with Down's syndrome were ascertained from a cohort of all Danish children between 0 and 17 years of age, who were diagnosed with cataract during the period 1977-2001 (n = 1027). Information on the patients was obtained from the medical records.

Results: Of the total of 1027 cases with non-traumatic, non-acquired cataract there were 29 cases (13 males, 16 females) with Down's syndrome (2.8%). This corresponds to an occurrence of early cataract among patients with Down's syndrome of 1.4%; 27 had bilateral cataract and two had unilateral cataract. Half of the patients (n = 14) underwent cataract surgery, of whom two had bilateral primary lens implantation. 10 patients had bilateral cataract observed soon after birth, and five of these underwent cataract surgery within the first 6 months of life.

Conclusion: The frequency of early cataract among children with Down's syndrome is estimated to be 1.4%, with cataracts requiring surgery during childhood being even rarer. In one third of the 29 cases, bilateral cataract was detected in the neonatal period.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / pathology
  • Cataract Extraction / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male