JOURNAL ARTICLE

Surveillance of vision and ocular disorders in children with Down syndrome

Elma Stephen, Jennifer Dickson, A David Kindley, Christopher C Scott, Patricia M Charleton
Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 2007, 49 (7): 513-5
17593123
Children with Down syndrome have a high prevalence of ocular disorders. The UK Down's Syndrome Medical Interest Group (DSMIG) guidelines for ophthalmic screening were locally implemented into a protocol that included neonatal eye examination by an ophthalmologist and a comprehensive ophthalmological examination (cycloplegic refraction, ophthalmoscopy, and orthoptic assessment) by at least the age of 3 years, followed by preschool follow-up as indicated. We audited retrospectively surveillance for ocular disorders before and after the DSMIG-based guidelines were locally adopted in 1995. Results were compared for children born before and after the implementation of screening guidelines. A total of 81 children (43 females, 38 males) with Down syndrome were identified. After the DSMIG protocol, 34/36 children received a full ophthalmological examination in the neonatal period, compared with 9/27 children before 1995 (p<0.001). Neonatal screening resulted in the detection of cataracts in three infants. Mean age of first comprehensive ophthalmic screening outside the neonatal period was similar in the two groups (1y 6mo before guidelines vs 1y 9mo after), as were the proportion of children receiving preschool eye checks (27/30 before; 17/18 after). Overall, 65.7% children were screened in accordance with the guidelines, improving to 100% in recent years. At school age, 43% of the study population had significant refractive errors, with 27% having hypermetropia and astigmatism. Earlier prescription of glasses for refractive errors was seen (mean age 5y 6mo before guidelines; 3y 6mo after; p<0.001). Prevalence of other ocular disorders included strabismus (34/72, 47%), nasolacrimal duct obstruction (26/73, 35.6%), cataracts (5/64, 7.8%), and nystagmus (12/72, 16%). Establishment of the DSMIG-based local protocol has streamlined ocular surveillance. It is anticipated that this will improve developmental and functional outcomes in Down syndrome.

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