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Unmet visual needs of children with Down syndrome in an African population: implications for visual 
and cognitive development

Abstract

Purpose. To determine the magnitude and types of ocular disorders in children with Down syndrome in an African population and to assess to what extent these visual needs have been met.
Methods. This is a cross-sectional study of children with Down syndrome attending a school for the mentally challenged in Southeastern Nigeria. Visual acuity, ocular examination, and cycloplegic refraction were done on all cooperative participants. Information was sought from parents/caregivers to ascertain previous ocular treatment/spectacle usage. 
Results. A total of 30 children with Down syndrome aged 5-15 years were examined. Uncorrected refractive errors were detected in 76.4% of them. Other lesions included mongoloid slant (53.5%), strabismus (33.3%), ptosis (33.3%), nystagmus (13.3%), and cataract (3.3%). None of the children with refractive errors had ever worn spectacles.
Conclusions. Refractive error is a common finding in this population. There is a high unmet visual need in these children. This may have implications for visual and cognitive development. Early screening for ocular disorders in Down syndrome is recommended to detect and treat them.

Eur J Ophthalmol 2013; 23(3): 394 - 398

Article Type: ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE

DOI:10.5301/ejo.5000222

Authors

Ada E. Aghaji, Linda Lawrence, Ifeoma Ezegwui, Ernest Onwasigwe, Onochie Okoye, Peter Ebigbo

Article History

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Authors

  • Aghaji, Ada E. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu - Nigeria
  • Lawrence, Linda [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Central Kansas Medical Centre, Salina, Kansas - USA
  • Ezegwui, Ifeoma [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu - Nigeria
  • Onwasigwe, Ernest [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu - Nigeria
  • Okoye, Onochie [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu - Nigeria
  • Ebigbo, Peter [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu - Nigeria

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