A preliminary study of astigmatism and early childhood development

Erin M Harvey, Eileen R. McGrath, Joseph M Miller, Amy L. Davis, John D Twelker, Leslie K Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether uncorrected astigmatism in toddlers is associated with poorer performance on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, 3rd edition (BSITD-III). Methods: Subjects were 12- to 35-month-olds who failed an instrument-based vision screening at a well-child check. A cycloplegic eye examination was conducted. Full-term children with no known medical or developmental conditions were invited to participate in a BSITD-III assessment conducted by an examiner masked to the child's eye examination results. Independent samples t tests were used to compare Cognitive, Language (Receptive and Expressive), and Motor (Fine and Gross) scores for children with moderate/high astigmatism (>2.00 D) versus children with no/low refractive error (ie, children who had a false-positive vision screening). Results: The sample included 13 children in each group. The groups did not differ on sex or mean age. Children with moderate/high astigmatism had significantly poorer mean scores on the Cognitive and Language scales and the Receptive Communication Language subscale compared to children with no/low refractive error. Children with moderate/high astigmatism had poorer mean scores on the Motor scale, Fine and Gross Motor subscales, and the Expressive Communication subscale, but these differences were not statistically significant. Conclusions: The results suggest that uncorrected astigmatism in toddlers may be associated with poorer performance on cognitive and language tasks. Further studies assessing the effects of uncorrected refractive error on developmental task performance and of spectacle correction of refractive error in toddlers on developmental outcomes are needed to support the development of evidence-based spectacle prescribing guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-298
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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