October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. With over 50% of people with Down Syndrome having some sort of refractive error (see our post from 2019 to learn more) getting properly diagnosed and fitted for glasses is very important.

For individuals with Down Syndrome, clear and comfortable vision is essential for daily life and development. However, fitting glasses for people with Down Syndrome can be more complex because of their unique facial features and visual needs. Here are some considerations:

Professional Assessment: Fitting glasses for someone with Down Syndrome should always begin with a professional assessment from your eye-care provider to evaluate the specific vision needs and eye health of the individual.

  • Frame Selection: Choosing the right frames is critical. People with Down Syndrome often have low-set ears, a flatter nasal bridge, and a shorter distance between the eyes. Frames that are specially designed for these features can provide better comfort and fit. Flexible and lightweight materials are also a good choice. We carry a section of frames from Specs 4 U and Dilli Dalli that work well with our Down Syndrome patients.
  • Proper Measurements: Precise measurements are crucial for the perfect fit. Taking accurate measurements of the individual’s interpupillary distance (the space between the pupils) and their facial features ensures the glasses are centered and sit correctly on their face.
  • Adjustments: Frequent follow-up appointments are usually necessary for adjustments to ensure patient comfort. People with Down Syndrome may require more frequent tweaking and realignment of their glasses because of their unique facial characteristics. A well-fitting pair of glasses can significantly improve comfort and visual acuity.
  • Lens Options: Depending on the individual’s visual needs, specific lens options may be beneficial. For those with nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or other vision issues, customized lenses can provide the best possible vision correction.
  • Education and Training: It’s essential to educate caregivers and the individuals themselves on wearing glasses consistently. Some individuals with Down Syndrome may have difficulty adjusting to glasses initially, but with patience and support, they can adapt.

Fitting people with Down Syndrome with glasses is a process that requires sensitivity, expertise, and patience. However, the results are worthwhile. Clear vision can greatly enhance the quality of life for individuals with Down Syndrome, improving their ability to learn, communicate, and engage with the world around them. By addressing their unique visual needs, we can help them lead happier and more fulfilling lives.