Keratoconus (KC, KCN, KTCN) is a disorder of the eye which results in progressive thinning of the cornea. It affects 1 in 10 people with Down Syndrome. This may result in blurry vision, double vision, nearsightedness, astigmatism, and light sensitivity. Usually both eyes are affected. In more severe cases a scarring or a circle may be seen within the cornea.
practitioners are being seduced by technology and in many optometric practices, the retinoscope is being replaced by ‘autorefractors’, machines that automatically measure a patient’s spectacle prescription at the touch of a button and without the practitioner viewing the patient’s eyes directly.
Auto-refractors are usually used by non-professional staff and the results handed on to the optometrist. Early keratoconus can pass unnoticed, or difficulty in obtaining a result with an auto-refractor put down to the patient’s learning disability. (Auto-refractors are also unsuitable for assessing the spectacle prescription of people with Down’s syndrome, so practices that solely rely on them should be avoided at all costs). Optometrists that rely on auto-refractors are losing skills that are vital to good health care for people with Down’s syndrome.