Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
Incidence and patterns of detection and management of childhood-onset hereditary retinal disorders in the UK


Background A prospective, national population-based cross-sectional study to enable understanding of the burden and management in the UK of hereditary retinal disorders presenting in childhood.

Methods Children aged <16 years with a new diagnosis of an inherited retinal disorder made between September 2006 and February 2008 in the UK were identified through two national active surveillance schemes. Clinical and socio-demographic information was collected on each child at diagnosis and 9 months later using standardised questionnaires.

Results 241 patients were reported with 24 distinct diagnoses. 14% had additional systemic disorders and 13% had dual sensory impairment. Annual incidence was 1.4/100 000 children (aged 0–15 years) and the cumulative incidence by age 16 years was 22.3/100 000 children. The most common mode of inheritance was autosomal recessive. A significantly higher rate was seen in males than females (relative rate (RR) 1.53), in children of Asian compared with White ethnicity (RR 7.12) and in those in the worst quintile of socio-economic deprivation compared with those in the best (RR 1.43). Parents most commonly detected a problem with their child's vision. Up to seven different health professionals were involved in a child's early management, and variations were noted in the proportion of eligible children having assessments for low vision aids, statement of educational needs and certification as sight-impaired.

Conclusions These findings illustrate the highly heterogeneous nature of childhood retinal dystrophies and provide previously unavailable data on disease incidence, distributions and management, which are important for service provision and for planning future treatment programmes, particularly as novel therapies become available.

  • Retinal disorders
  • childhood
  • incidence
  • retinal dystrophy
  • retina
  • dystrophy
  • epidemiology
  • child health (paediatrics)

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.