Common eye disorders detected in children with Down syndrome include strabismus, tear duct abnormalities, keratoconus (misshaped cornea) and congenital cataracts. Specialized eye exams for kids with Down syndrome can drastically improve their quality of life. At Pediatric Vision Associates we specialize in identifying vision difficulties early and recommend helpful, corrective treatments. Eyewear for Down syndrome includes designs that accommodate unique facial features, such as a low nasal bridge and modified temples that help keep eyeglasses snug and comfortable over the ears.
Approximately 30 percent of individuals with Down Syndrome suffer from thinning of the cornea (front layer of the eye) and blurred vision. Keratoconus is typically diagnosed around puberty, and regular monitoring is essential.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. Symptoms include redness at the edge of the lids and crusting around the lashes. It may cause a feeling of dryness or burning. Treatment usually consists of eyelid hygiene and topical antibiotics.
Between 20 and 60 percent of individuals with Down Syndrome have amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed eyes). Esotropia (inward eye turn) is most common, while exotropia (outward eye turn) occurs less frequently.
Nystagmus is an involuntary side-to-side, up-and-down, or circular movement of the eyes. It typically involves both eyes. Nystagmus may go away on its own with time, be managed with eyeglasses or contacts, or (in severe cases) require surgery.
When to see the doctor...
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children with Down syndrome be examined by an eye doctor specialized in working with children with disabilities. The initial exam should be done by six months of age, with follow-up exams once per year or more if needed.