Amblyopia and visual acuity in children with Down's syndrome


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Abstract

Background/aimsAmblyopia in people with Down's syndrome has not been well investigated. This study was designed to determine the prevalence and associated conditions of amblyopia in a group of home reared children with Down's syndrome.MethodsAll children in the study group underwent an evaluation of visual acuity. In addition, previous ophthalmological records were reviewed, and a subgroup of children was examined. For the purposes of this study, amblyopia was defined quantitatively as a difference of two Snellen acuity lines between eyes or if unilateral central steady maintained (CSM) vision and a clear fixation preference was observed. A high refractive error was defined as a spherical equivalent more than 3 dioptres and astigmatism more than 1.75 dioptres. Anisometropia was defined as a difference of at least 1.5 dioptres of sphere and/or 1.0 dioptre of cylinder between eyes. 68 children with Down's syndrome between the ages of 5 and 19 years were enrolled in the final study group.ResultsAmblyopia was observed in 15 (22%) of 68 patients. An additional 16 (24%) patients had bilateral vision less than 20/50. Strabismus, high refractive errors, and anisometropia were the conditions most commonly associated with decreased vision and amblyopiaConclusionThis study suggests that the prevalence of amblyopia is higher than previously reported. Fully 46% of these children with Down's syndrome had evidence of substantial visual deficits. These patients may be at higher risk for visual impairment and should be carefully examined for ophthalmological problems.

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