JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Ocular health status of subjects with Down's syndrome in Benin City, Nigeria.

Down's syndrome is the commonest cause of mental retardation worldwide. In Nigeria, persons with Down's syndrome remain largely stigmatised and neglected. There is a dearth of literature on the ocular health status of Nigerian subjects with Down's syndrome. To determine the ocular health status of Nigerian subjects with Down's syndrome in 4 special schools in Benin City, Nigeria, one hundred and forty four subjects with Down's syndrome had external ocular examination, visual acuity testing and Ophthalmoscopy in a school setting. Majority of the subjects had poor visual acuity of 6/18 or worse (59.0%), in at least one eye. There was a high incidence of refractive errors. Hyperopia was present in 29.2% of subjects; Astigmatism 22.2%; Myopia 6.3%; Strabismus 18.1%; Nystagmus 4.2% and cataracts in 2.8%. Liberal early use of corrective lenses is advocated in persons with Down's syndrome. Community based enlightenment programmes to encourage parents of children with Down's syndrome to bring their children for ocular examination early, preferably in infancy, and to enrol the children in a continuous ocular screening programme need be put in place. This will go a long way in improving their intellectual abilities, quality of life and life expectancy.

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