• Effect of Impaired Visual Development on Self-Perception of Young Children

    By Lynda Seminara
    Selected and Reviewed By: Neil M. Bressler, MD, and Deputy Editors

    Journal Highlights

    JAMA Ophthalmology, May 2019

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    Birch et al. looked at the relationship between amblyopia and self-perception in young children to assess whether altered self-perception correlates with impaired vision or fine motor skills. They found that children with ambly­opia believed that they had lower peer acceptance and physical competence. Self-perception of physical competence among children with amblyopia cor­related with aiming/catching skills and stereoacuity in their study.

    This cross-sectional study was conducted at a pediatric vision lab from January 2016 to May 2018. The researchers enrolled 110 healthy children between the ages of 3 and 7. Sixty of the children had amblyopia; 30 did not have amblyopia but had been treated for strabismus, anisometropia, or both; and 20 served as age-matched controls. Self-perception was assessed using the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children, which includes the domains of cognitive competence, peer acceptance, physical competence, and maternal acceptance. Fine motor skills were evaluated with the Manual Dex­terity and Aiming and Catching scales of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (second edition). Visual acuity and stereoacuity were assessed as well.

    Compared with controls, children with amblyopia (28 girls, 32 boys; mean age, 6.3 years) had lower mean scores for self-perception of peer acceptance (2.74 vs. 3.11; p = .04) and physical competence (2.86 vs. 3.43; p = .009). Among the children with amblyopia, self-perception of physical competence correlated strongly with aiming and catching skills (r = 0.43; p = .001) and stereoacuity (r = −0.39; p = .02). The mean physical competence scores for children without amblyopia who were treated for strabismus or anisometropia were lower than the scores for controls (2.89 vs. 3.43; p = .03).

    The researchers noted that fine mo­tor skills are essential to supporting the emergence of a child’s independence and are crucial for developing positive self-esteem, proficiency, and academic skills. Further research is needed to determine whether rehabilitating visual acuity or stereoacuity would enhance self-perceptions in this age group.

    The original article can be found here.