Those with Cockayne syndrome may have the following symptoms:
- the face shows progressive ageing with thinning of the skin, deep sunken eyes, hair loss and dental decay
- loss of motor skills (these allow people to coordinate the movement of parts of their body)
- loss of intellectual skills. If a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan is carried out this is apparent by changes in the white matter of the brain (known as leukodystrophy)
- development of visual problems due to retinitis pigmentosa
- bones show thinning, the back becomes curved and there will be joint contractures (stiffness of the joint that prevents its full extension)
- sensitivity to the sun leading to blistering and excessive reddening of the skin. This has led to the recognition that in Cockayne syndrome ultra-violet (UV) light can cause damage to a person's DNA.