Specialized Eye Exams for Children with Down Syndrome
Patients with Down Syndrome are often at risk for particular visual complications that require specialized attention and assistance. When these vision problems are left untreated, the child’s cognitive potential, learning, development, and general well-being will all be affected adversely. That’s why it’s important to bring kids with Down Syndrome to our optometrist in Glassboro, NJ, for first-rate, compassionate eye care. We are located conveniently in the Collegetown Shopping Center on Delsea and Heston Drives.
Eye Exam for Children with Down Syndrome
When our Glassboro, NJ, optometrist inspects the eyes of a patient with Down Syndrome, we are knowledgeable about the vision conditions that often appear – and we check closely for signs of these problems. Remember, it is critical to schedule annual eye exams for children with special needs, because early diagnosis of a problem goes far towards the success of corrective treatments.
Recommended guidelines for pediatric eye exams for patients with Down Syndrome:
- Birth to 6 weeks: routine newborn check, including for congenital cataracts
- 18 to 24 months: professional eye and vision evaluation
- 4 years old: comprehensive eye exam for visual acuity and eye health
- School-aged children: follow-up exams every 2 years, minimum, or according to your eye doctor’s instruction
Down Syndrome Eye Problems and Treatments
Down Syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality, which means it affects many kids around the world. A number of eye problems are associated with this condition, including:
- Refractive Conditions: Nearsightedness and farsightedness are common, and imprecise correction of these conditions can directly impact how a child interacts with their world. Reading and viewing a TV or computer can be complicated.
- Weak Accommodation: A problem with focusing is also more common in patients with Down Syndrome. This condition can be tested easily during an eye exam and is generally corrected with bifocals.
- Keratoconus: This condition is characterized by an irregular cone-shaped cornea, instead of a smoothly rounded one, which distorts vision. It generally begins in adolescence and then progresses. Contact lenses often help to correct vision. When contacts are not effective, a corneal transplant may be advised.
- Strabismus & Amblyopia: Typically known as having “crossed eyes”, strabismus results from the brain’s inability to coordinate both eyes together. Children with strabismus may see out of only one eye at a time, with no binocularity. This condition must be treated as soon as possible, as it tends to worsen. Glasses alone are sometimes efficient treatment. Yet, if the eyes continue to have strabismus despite the correct pair of eyeglasses, then we may recommend strabismus surgery (eye-muscle surgery).Our qualified Glassboro, NJ, eye care specialist will recommend the best treatment approach.
- Tear duct abnormalities: The first symptoms of this disorder are excess discharge and tearing. Often, massaging the tear ducts helps; surgery to open the tear ducts is another treatment option.
- Congenital cataracts: Cataracts refer to a clouding of the eye’s lens, which blurs vision. Laser surgery can remove cataracts and improve vision.
Eyewear for Down Syndrome: Specs4Us
Eyeglasses for Down Syndrome include customized designs, such as frames by Specs4Us, that accommodate unique facial features. These glasses are made with a wide, low nasal bridge and modified spring-hinge temples that hold eyeglasses snugly over the ears without slippage, while still being comfortable to wear. Specs4Us glasses are constructed from flexible, resilient and tough materials.
Our Glassboro, NJ, eye care center is proud to stock this one-of-a-kind line of eyeglasses. Available internationally in 28 countries, Specs4Us has a large catalog of designs and we’ll be pleased to help fit your child with the best frames.
Watch Out for These Symptoms
Children with Down syndrome do not typically complain about their vision problems. Most of the time they don’t even notice that something is wrong, or they don’t have the language skills to communicate their complaint clearly. These are reasons why annual eye exams are so important.
Be on the lookout for these signs:
- Head tilting
- Wandering or crossing of one or both eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Not reaching developmental milestones
- Regression in overall function
- Tearing and discharge
- Droopy eyelid
If you detect any of the above behaviors or symptoms, call to schedule an appointment with Dr. William Berger to discuss your child’s eye health, vision concerns, or problems. If you want to purchase new eyewear, we offer an extensive selection of eyeglasses, contact lenses, specialty lens needs, and Specs4Us frames. We invite you to drop in anytime to our office in the Collegetown Shopping Center on Delsea and Heston Drives, in Glassboro, NJ, to browse through our large collection of designer eyeglass frames and sunglasses. Read more about Management of Ocular Diseases.