Help prevent vision loss from keratoconus in patients with Down syndrome

Published by: Healio Optometry
Written by: Mitch Ibach

Keratoconus, like many ocular diseases, has genetic, systemic and environmental associations that affect prevalence.

One of the systemic conditions where keratoconus incidence is much higher is in the Down syndrome (DS) population.

DS is a genetic condition where the affected individual gets three (full or partial) copies of chromosome 21 (trisomy 21). According to the National Down Syndrome Society, one in 700 babies in the U.S. is born with DS, making it the most common chromosomal disorder.

As keratoconus (KCN) awareness continues to rise, disease prevalence studies are variable, but the trend continues to show higher incidence than previously thought.

Certain regions show higher patient numbers, but using a recent systematic global review, the authors concluded about one in 750 patients develop KCN (Hashemi et al.). In patients with DS, KCN prevalence has a larger range depending on inclusion criteria to define it, but a recent literature review showed a condensed range of 8% to 36% (Kristianslund et al.). This aligns with reported incidence of KCN being 10 times to 20 times higher in a patient with DS compared to the general population (National Keratoconus Foundation). Click here for the rest of the story.

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