Combining visual sensory functions and visuospatial orienting functions in children with visual pathology: A longitudinal study
Background: Peripheral and central visual processing development highly depends on the integrity of the visual sensory system and the allocation of visuospatial attention. Method: We quantitatively followed visual sensory functions (VSF) and visuospatial orienting functions (VOF) over two years in 77 children (1–13 years) with different types of visual pathology. Results: Within the clinical groups, VSF were relatively constant over two years, except visual acuity, and VOF were characterized by longer reaction time, shorter fixation duration, and lower fixation accuracy than normal for their age. Children with peripheral pathology had high rates of abnormal VSF, of changes to abnormal visual acuity at 1–6 years, and larger and more abnormal VOF (fixation inaccuracy). Children with central pathology had relatively good VSF, whereas two-third had delayed orienting reaction times that differed from other groups mainly at 1–6 years. Conclusion: The distinct patterns of quantitative VSF and VOF over time between the visual pathology groups, and the finding that both methods provided complementary information, argues for combining both types of assessments to provide comprehensive monitoring of visual functioning in children from a young age.