Ocular findings in Down's syndrome

Am J Ophthalmol. 1996 Aug;122(2):236-44. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)72015-x.


Purpose: To identify the most common ocular findings in a pediatric group of patients with Down's syndrome.

Methods: A total of 152 children with Down's syndrome between two months and 18 years of age prospectively underwent ocular examination, including visual acuity assessment, slit-lamp biomicroscopy, ocular motility, cycloplegic retinoscopy, and ophthalmoscopy.

Results: Ocular findings in decreasing prevalence were the following: upward slanting of the palpebral fissure with the outer canthus 2 mm or higher than the inner canthus (82%), epicanthal folds (61%), astigmatism (60%), iris abnormalities (52%), strabismus (38%), lacrimal system obstruction (30%), blepharitis (30%), retinal abnormalities (28%), hyperopia (26%), amblyopia (26%), nystagmus (18%), cataract (13%), and myopia (13%). Visual acuity was assessed, and the Teller acuity cards were the most useful method of examination. The patients younger than five years old had a higher prevalence of hyperopia than did those in other age groups; patients between five and 12 years old had a higher prevalence of astigmatism; and patients older than 12 years of age had more iris abnormalities, strabismus, and cataract. Myopia and myopic astigmatism were more common in the patients with cardiac malformations.

Conclusion: The early diagnosis of the ocular abnormalities in patients with Down's syndrome, by using Teller acuity cards in assessing visual acuity facilitates the treatment of refractive errors, strabismus, and amblyopia and may minimize handicaps.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cataract / diagnosis
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Eye Diseases / etiology
  • Eyelid Diseases / diagnosis
  • Eyelid Diseases / epidemiology
  • Eyelid Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lacrimal Duct Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Lacrimal Duct Obstruction / epidemiology
  • Lacrimal Duct Obstruction / etiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Refractive Errors / diagnosis
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology
  • Refractive Errors / etiology
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Retinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology
  • Visual Acuity