Ophthalmic assessment of children with down syndrome: is England doing its bit?

Strabismus. 2010 Dec;18(4):142-5. doi: 10.3109/09273972.2010.529232.


Introduction: Patients with Down syndrome have characteristic features including ocular manifestations. Guidelines exist for ophthalmic surveillance of people with Down syndrome, but locally (North Staffordshire) there is no formal program in place.

Methods: Hospital records were used to detect children with Down syndrome. Data were extracted retrospectively to determine which children had been seen by ophthalmic services, the mode of assessment used, and the frequency of ophthalmic disorders.

Results: Of the 96 children with Down syndrome, 38% received no ophthalmic assessment. Of those seen, the mean age at first appointment was nearly 3 years, with a number of children being more than 5 years old. Most children (96%) had at least one ophthalmic abnormality, the commonest being hyperopia. Requested follow-up was routinely exceeded by almost a year with 19% of children receiving no follow-up.

Discussion: Ocular disorders are common in the two thirds of children who are currently seen by ophthalmic services. Locally, we are falling short of the targets set by the 2006 recommendations for basic medical care of people with Down syndrome. A screening program might have a beneficial impact on the vision of children with Down syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Astigmatism / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Eyeglasses
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperopia / etiology
  • Hyperopia / rehabilitation
  • Ophthalmology / methods*
  • Orthoptics / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United Kingdom
  • Vision, Low / etiology