Infant vision screening predicts failures on motor and cognitive tests up to school age.
Atkinson J., Anker S., Nardini M., Braddick O., Hughes C., Rae S., Wattam-Bell J., Atkinson S.
In a population-based infant vision screening programme, 5295 infants were screened and those with significant refractive errors were followed up. To assess the relationship between the development of vision and other domains, we report a longitudinal study comparing infants with significant hyperopia, identified at age 9 months ('hyperopes') with infants with normal refractions ('controls'). Children are included who completed at each age a broad set of visual, cognitive, motor and language measures taken over a series of follow-up visits up to age 5.5 years. Hyperopes performed significantly worse than controls on the Atkinson Battery of Child Development for Examining Functional Vision at 14 months and 3.5 years and the Henderson Movement Assessment Battery for Children at 3.5 and 5.5 years. The Griffiths Child Development Scales, MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory and British Picture Vocabulary Scales showed no significant differences. Exclusion of those infants who became amblyopic and strabismic did not substantially alter these results, suggesting that the differences between groups were not a consequence of these disorders. These results indicate that early hyperopia is associated with a range of developmental deficits that persist at least to age 5.5 years. These effects are concentrated in visuocognitive and visuomotor domains rather than the linguistic domain.