The effect of amblyopia on fine motor skills in children
PURPOSE. In an investigation of the functional impact of amblyopia
in children, the fine motor skills of amblyopes and agematched
control subjects were compared. The influence of
visual factors that might predict any decrement in fine motor
skills was also explored.---
METHODS. Vision and fine motor skills were tested in a group of
children (n 82; mean age, 8.2 1.7 [SD] years) with
amblyopia of different causes (infantile esotropia, n 17;
acquired strabismus, n 28; anisometropia, n 15; mixed, n
13; and deprivation n 9), and age-matched control children
(n 37; age 8.3 1.3 years). Visual motor control (VMC)
and upper limb speed and dexterity (ULSD) items of the
Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency were assessed,
and logMAR visual acuity (VA) and Randot stereopsis were
measured. Multiple regression models were used to identify
the visual determinants of fine motor skills performance.
RESULTS. Amblyopes performed significantly poorer than control
subjects on 9 of 16 fine motor skills subitems and for the
overall age-standardized scores for both VMC and ULSD items
(P 0.05). The effects were most evident on timed tasks. The
etiology of amblyopia and level of binocular function significantly
affected fine motor skill performance on both items;
however, when examined in a multiple regression model that
took into account the intercorrelation between visual characteristics,
poorer fine motor skills performance was associated
with strabismus (F1,75 5.428; P 0.022), but not with the
level of binocular function, refractive error, or visual acuity in
CONCLUSIONS. Fine motor skills were reduced in children with
amblyopia, particularly those with strabismus, compared with
control subjects. The deficits in motor performance were greatest
on manual dexterity tasks requiring speed and accuracy.
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