Epicanthic fold

Epicanthic fold

Epicanthic fold
The epicanthic fold is the skin fold of the upper eyelid covering the inner angle of the eye.[1]
Latin plica palpebronasalis
Anatomical terminology

Epicanthic fold (),[1] epicanthal fold, epicanthus, or simply eye fold[2] are names for a skin fold of the upper eyelid, covering the inner corner (medial canthus) of the eye. Other names for this trait include plica palpebronasalis[3] and palpebronasal fold.[4] One of the primary facial features often closely associated with the epicanthic fold is the nasal bridge; all else equal, a lower-rooted nose bridge is more likely to cause epicanthic folds, and a higher-rooted nose bridge is less likely to do so.[5] There are various factors that influence whether someone has epicanthic folds, including geographical ancestry, age, and certain medical conditions.


  • Factors 1
    • Geographic distribution 1.1
    • Age 1.2
    • Medical conditions 1.3
  • See also 2
  • References 3


Geographic distribution

Epicanthic fold depicted in a painting.
A Khoisan man with an epicanthic fold in Namibia.
An Uyghur girl with an epicanthic fold in Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

Epicanthic folds occur in East Asians, Southeast Asians, Central Asians and some South Asians, Indigenous Americans, some Arabs, the San people, Berbers, Inuit, and occasionally in Europeans (e.g., Scandinavians and Poles).[6][7][8]

The reason many Asians have the epicanthic fold is unclear to scientists.[9]


Many fetuses lose their epicanthic folds after 3 to 6 months of gestation.[10]

Medical conditions

Epicanthic fold is sometimes found as a congenital abnormality.[1] Medical conditions that cause the nasal bridge not to mature and project are associated with epicanthic folds. About 60% of individuals with Down syndrome have prominent epicanthic folds.[11][12] 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[13] 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.[14]

In Zellweger syndrome, epicanthic folds are prominent.[15] Other examples are fetal alcohol syndrome, phenylketonuria, and Turner syndrome.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "epicanthic". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Eye fold". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "AllRefer Health - Epicanthal Folds (Plica Palpebronasalis)". AllRefer.com. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Palpebronasal Fold - Medical Dictionary Search".  .
  5. ^ Montagu, A. (1989) Growing Young N.Y.: McGraw Hill pp. 40
  6. ^ Montagu, A. (1989). Growing Young. Bergin & Garvey: CT.
  7. ^ "Epicanthus". Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "epicanthic fold (anatomy)". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Origin Of Shape Of Asian Eyes Is Still A Mystery To Scientists". Chicago Tribune. October 13, 1985. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Park, J.I. Modified Z-Epicanthoplasty in the Asian Eyelid. ARCH FACIAL PLAST SURG/VOL 2, JAN-MAR 2000.
  11. ^ Hammer, edited by Stephen J. McPhee, Gary D. (2010). "Pathophysiology of Selected Genetic Diseases". Pathophysiology of disease : an introduction to clinical medicine (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. Chapter 2.  
  12. ^ Pham, V. (2010). COMMON OTOLARYNGOLOGICAL CONGENITAL ABNORMALITIES. UTMB, Dept. of Otolaryngology. [2]
  13. ^ Conor, WO (1999). "John Langdon Down: The Man and the Message". Down Syndrome Research and Practice 6 (1): 19–24.  
  14. ^ Howard-Jones, Norman (1979). """On the diagnostic term "Down's disease. Medical History 23 (1): 102–04.  
  15. ^ Kalyanasundaram, S. (2010). Peroxisomal Disorder-Unusual Presentation as Failure to Thrive in Early Infancy. In Indian Journal of Pediatrics. 77:1151–1152
  16. ^ MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia