Complex visual disorders with a neurologic origin are increasingly prevalent among visually impaired children. These children often experience additional problems in developmental, behavioral, or intellectual domains. It is of the utmost importance to detect abnormalities in visual information processing at an early developmental stage, to provide opportunities for rehabilitation and support.
At our lab (Vestibular and Oculomotor Research group), a method was developed in which orienting responses to specific visual information are assessed with an eye tracker and a preferential looking paradigm. Such visually-guided orienting responses can be measured without verbal interaction with the child. This method was applied in collaboration with visual rehabilitation centers (Royal Dutch Visio and Bartiméus), to examine its usefulness for early identification of visual information processing problems. In this thesis, visual information processing in children with and without visual impairments (aged 1 to 12 years) was characterized and longitudinally followed over three years.
It was shown that the presented norm-based visually-guided orienting responses are suited to uniformly quantify and follow visual information processing and oculomotor control in diverse groups of children. Risk factors for visual processing impairments were related to significant delays in orienting responses. Although as a group, visually impaired children have abnormal orienting behavior, the specifics and the changes over time may vary substantially between and within children. Given the nonverbal assessment and valid functional results, the method can be a valuable addition to visual function assessments in clinical practice, and may constitute a basis for providing tailored support and following visual interventions.

, , , , , ,
J. van der Steen (Hans) , J.J.M. Pel (Johan)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
De totstandkoming van dit onderzoek en proefschrift is mogelijk gemaakt door financiële ondersteuning van ZonMW – InZicht. De uitgave van dit proefschrift is mogelijk gemaakt door financiële ondersteuning van: Koninklijke Visio, Bartiméus, Tobii, Erasmus MC
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam