To identify whether static and dynamic aspects of accommodation other than accuracy are deficient in individuals with Down syndrome (DS) and whether poor accommodation is related to sensory or motor pathway deficits.
Static aspects of accommodation (maximum accommodative response and lag) were measured with an autorefractor for both proximal and minus lens demands. Dynamic aspects of accommodation (latency, peak velocity, microfluctuations) were recorded at 30 Hz with a custom-built photorefractor as subjects viewed a movie switching between 11 m and 50, 33, 25, or 20 cm. Thirty-six subjects with DS were recruited (age 3 to 39 years), and 24 (67%) had useable responses for at least one study measurement for comparison with 140 controls (3 to 40 years) from a previously published cohort.
DS subjects had lower maximum accommodative responses (mean = 2.52 ± 1.66 D) and higher lags (1.81 ± 1.30 D for 33 cm demand) than controls for both proximal and minus lens stimuli. DS subjects had greater microfluctuations (one-way ANCOVA, P < 0.001), and a small percentage of the total number of latency measurements (17% accommodative and 16% disaccommodative) were longer than controls. Peak velocities of accommodation and disaccommodation were not different between groups (one-way ANCOVA, P = 0.143).
Peak velocities of accommodation and disaccommodation (primarily motor aspects) did not differ between controls and DS subjects; however, latencies (primarily sensory) and microfluctuations (combined motor and sensory) were poorer in DS subjects. These results suggest that poor accommodative accuracy in individuals with DS may be predominantly related to sensory deficits.