|Synonyms||Epicanthal fold, epicanthus, eye fold, Mongolian fold, palpebronasal fold|
The epicanthic fold is the skin fold of the upper eyelid, covering the inner corner (medial canthus) of the eye. Various factors influence whether epicanthic folds form, including ancestry, age, and certain medical conditions.
Epicanthic folds appear in East Asians, Southeast Asians, Central Asians, North Asians, some South Asians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indigenous Americans (as well as Mestizos), the Khoisan, Malagasy, occasionally Europeans (e.g., Scandinavians, Hungarians, Estonians, Russians, Lithuanians, Finns, Samis, Irish, and Poles), and among Nilotes and Amazigh people.
Many fetuses lose their epicanthic folds after three to six months of gestation. Epicanthic folds may be visible in the development stages of young children of any race, especially before the nose bridge fully develops.
The epicanthic fold is sometimes found as a congenital abnormality. Medical conditions that cause the nasal bridge not to mature and project are associated with epicanthic folds. About 60% of individuals with Down syndrome (also known as trisomy 21) have prominent epicanthic folds. In 1862, John Langdon Down classified what is now called Down syndrome. He used the term mongoloid for the condition. This was derived from then-prevailing ethnic theory and from his perception that children with Down syndrome shared physical facial similarities (epicanthic folds) with those of Blumenbach's Mongolian race. While the term "mongoloid" (also "mongol" or "mongoloid idiot") continued to be used until the early 1970s, it is now considered pejorative and inaccurate and is no longer in common use about medical conditions.
- Epicanthoplasty, the surgical modification of epicanthic folds
- Human physical appearance
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