Epicanthic fold

"Mongoloid fold" redirects here. For other uses, see Mongoloid (disambiguation).
Epicanthic fold

A person of Mongol ethnicity with the skin fold of the upper eyelid covering the inner angle of the eye.[1]
Latin plica palpebronasalis
TA A15.2.07.028
FMA 59370

Anatomical terminology

Epicanthic fold (/ɛpɪˌkænθɪkˈfld/),[1] epicanthal fold, epicanthus, and 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 that is often closely associated with the epicanthic fold is elevation of the nasal bridge. All else equal, a lower-rooted nasal bridge is more likely to cause epicanthic folds, and a higher-rooted nasal 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.


Geographic distribution

A Khoisan man with an epicanthic fold in Namibia.
An Uyghur girl with an epicanthic fold in Turpan, Xinjiang, China.
A Sami man with an epicanthic fold in Finland.

Epicanthic folds appear in East Asians, Southeast Asians,[6] Central Asians, Indigenous Americans, the Khoisan,[6] Madagascar, and "occasionally in Europeans (e.g., Scandinavians, Hungarians, Samis, Irish[7] and Poles)"[6][8][9] and among Nilotes.[10]

Anthropologist Carleton S. Coon states that the "median fold" occurs in Finnic and Slavic populations, while the "true inner or mongoloid fold" appears in populations of the east and the far north.[11]


Many fetuses lose their epicanthic folds after three to six months of gestation.[12]

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.[13][14] 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[15] 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.[16]

In Zellweger syndrome, epicanthic folds are prominent.[17] Other examples are fetal alcohol syndrome, phenylketonuria, and Turner syndrome.[18]

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epicanthic fold.
  1. 1 2 3 "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". Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-01..
  5. Montagu, A. (1989) Growing Young N.Y.: McGraw Hill pp. 40
  6. 1 2 3 "Epicanthus". Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  7. "Q&A". The New York Times. 1985-10-08. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  8. "epicanthic fold (anatomy)". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  9. Montagu, A. (1989). Growing Young. Bergin & Garvey: CT.
  10. "Mongolism in Sudanese children". Journal of Tropical Pediatrics. 8: 48–50. September 1962. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.tropej.a057626. PMID 13905256.
  11. Coon, Carleton S. The Races of Europe. Distribution of Bodily Characters.
  12. Park JI (2000-01-01). "Modified Z-Epicanthoplasty in the Asian Eyelid". Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery. 2 (1): 43–47. doi:10.1001/archfaci.2.1.43. ISSN 1521-2491.
  13. 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. ISBN 978-0-07-162167-0.
  15. Conor, WO (1999). "John Langdon Down: The Man and the Message". Down Syndrome Research and Practice. 6 (1): 19–24. doi:10.3104/perspectives.94.
  16. Howard-Jones, Norman (1979). "On the diagnostic term "Down's disease"". Medical History. 23 (1): 102–04. doi:10.1017/s0025727300051048. PMC 1082401Freely accessible. PMID 153994.
  17. Kalyanasundaram, S. (2010). Peroxisomal Disorder-Unusual Presentation as Failure to Thrive in Early Infancy. In Indian Journal of Pediatrics. 77:1151–1152
  18. Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. "Epicanthal folds". nih.gov.
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