Telecanthus, or dystopia canthorum, refers to increased distance between the inner corners of the eyelids (medial canthi), while the inter-pupillary distance is normal. This is in contrast to hypertelorism, where the whole-eye distance is increased.[1]

The distance between the inner corner of the left eye and the inner corner of the right eye is called intercanthal distance. In most people, the intercanthal distance is equal to the distance between the inner corner and the outer corner of each eye, that is, the width of the eye. The average interpupillary distance is 60–62 millimeters (mm), which corresponds to an intercanthal distance of approximately 30–31 mm.[2] The situation where intercanthal distance is intensely bigger than the width of the eye is called telecanthus (tele= Greek τηλε = far, and Greek ακανθα = thorn). This can be an ethnic index or an indication for hypertelorism or hypotelorism, if it is combined with abnormal relation to the interpupillary distance (A D STEAS).

Traumatic telecanthus refers to telcanthus resulting from traumatic injury to the nasal-orbital-ethmoid (NOE) complex.[1] The diagnosis of traumatic telecanthus requires a measurement in excess of those normative values. The pathology can be either unilateral or bilateral, with the former more difficult to measure.[2]

Systemic associations

Telecanthus is often associated with many congenital disorders. Congenital disorders such as Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, cri du chat syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Turner syndrome, Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome[3] often present with prominent epicanthal folds, and if these folds are nasal (most commonly are) they will cause telecanthus.


Telecanthus comes from the Greek word τῆλε (tele, "far") and the Latin word canthus, meaning either corner of the eye, where the eyelids meet.

Dystopia canthorum comes from the Greek δυσ- (dus-, “bad”) and τόπος (tópos, “place”) and the Latin word canthorum ("of the canthi").


  1. "Telecanthus - EyeWiki". Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  2. "Resident Manual of Trauma to the Face, Head, and Neck, Ed. 1" (PDF). Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  3. Tagra S, Talwar AK, Walia RL, Sidhu P (2006). "Waardenburg syndrome". Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 72 (4): 326. doi:10.4103/0378-6323.26718. PMID 16880590.
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