Down syndrome (DS) is frequently associated with cataract, but there remains scant information about DS cataract morphology. Supra-nuclear cataracts in DS have been proposed as indicative of beta-amyloid (Aβ) aggregation and thus potential biomarkers for Alzheimer’s (AD). This study employed anterior segment OCT (AS-OCT) and slit-lamp (SL) photography to image the crystalline lens in DS, compared with adult controls. Lens images were obtained post-dilation. Using MATLAB, AS-OCT images were analysed and lens opacities calculated as pixel intensity and area ratios. SL images were classified using LOCS III. Subjects were n=28 DS (mean±SD 24.1±14.3years), and n=36 controls (54.0±3.4years). For the DS group, AS-OCT imaging revealed the frequent presence of small dot opacities (27 eyes, 50%) in the cortex and nucleus of the lens, covering an area ranging from 0.2-14%. There was no relation with age or visual acuity and these dot opacities (p>0.5) and they were not present in any control lenses. However, their location and morphology does not coincide with previous reports linking these opacities with Aβ accumulation and AD. Four participants (14%) in the DS group had clinically significant age-related cataracts, but there was no evidence of early onset of age-related cataracts in DS.
Little, J-A., Mahil, A-D., Richardson, P., Woodhouse, J. M., Viñuela-Navarro, V., & Saunders, K. J. (2020). In-vivo anterior segment OCT imaging provides unique insight into cerulean blue-dot opacities and cataracts in Down syndrome. Scientific Reports, 10(1), . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66642-1