Down syndrome is a condition that occurs when a third copy of chromosome 21 is generated while in the womb. This leads to certain physical changes that can impact the way an individual with the syndrome thinks, looks, and behaves. One area that is persistently underexamined about people with Down syndrome is their potential to develop eye troubles. They are more likely to experience vision and eye issues that can impact their daily lives.
Common eye issues for people with Down syndrome
There are several different eye and vision abnormalities that can arise in people with Down syndrome. For example, near-sightedness and far-sightedness, and astigmatisms are examples of refractive errors that routinely require treatment. Misaligned eyes, including both esotropia and strabismus, are equally common in as much as 60% of individuals with Down syndrome.
Cataracts and glaucoma, both of which sometimes require surgery to treat, are not uncommon. Another, typically less severe, eye and vision issue commonly experienced in individuals with Down syndrome is blepharitis, characterized by eyelid inflammation and crusting around the lashes. This can typically be treated by encouraging proper eyelid hygiene. In some instances, topical antibiotics might also be helpful.
Prompt detection can improve treatment outlooks
While individuals with Down syndrome are more prone to eye problems than individuals without the syndrome, not all these troubles are permanent. Many of them can be treated successfully and least partially mitigated as long as they are discovered early on. It is important to ensure that children with Down syndrome grow up with regular eye visits that continue into adulthood. There are certain organizations that can help with making appointments and locating affordable glasses.
If you or a loved one have Down syndrome and are experiencing vision or eye health changes, reach out to our professionals today for more information.