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Visual acuity and visual skills in Malaysian children with learning disabilities

Authors Muzaliha, Nurhamiza, Adil H, Norabibas, Mohd-Hisham-Basrun, Sarimah, Leo, Shatriah I

Received 24 April 2012

Accepted for publication 23 July 2012

Published 19 September 2012 Volume 2012:6 Pages 1527—1533


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Mohd-Nor Muzaliha,1 Buang Nurhamiza,1 Adil Hussein,1 Abdul-Rani Norabibas,1 Jaafar Mohd-Hisham-Basrun,1 Abdullah Sarimah,2 Seo-Wei Leo,3 Ismail Shatriah1

1Department of Ophthalmology, 2Biostatistics and Research Methodology Unit, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia; 3Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Unit, Department of Ophthalmology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore

Background: There is limited data in the literature concerning the visual status and skills in children with learning disabilities, particularly within the Asian population. This study is aimed to determine visual acuity and visual skills in children with learning disabilities in primary schools within the suburban Kota Bharu district in Malaysia.
Methods: We examined 1010 children with learning disabilities aged between 8–12 years from 40 primary schools in the Kota Bharu district, Malaysia from January 2009 to March 2010. These children were identified based on their performance in a screening test known as the Early Intervention Class for Reading and Writing Screening Test conducted by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Complete ocular examinations and visual skills assessment included near point of convergence, amplitude of accommodation, accommodative facility, convergence break and recovery, divergence break and recovery, and developmental eye movement tests for all subjects.
Results: A total of 4.8% of students had visual acuity worse than 6/12 (20/40), 14.0% had convergence insufficiency, 28.3% displayed poor accommodative amplitude, and 26.0% showed signs of accommodative infacility. A total of 12.1% of the students had poor convergence break, 45.7% displayed poor convergence recovery, 37.4% showed poor divergence break, and 66.3% were noted to have poor divergence recovery. The mean horizontal developmental eye movement was significantly prolonged.
Conclusion: Although their visual acuity was satisfactory, nearly 30% of the children displayed accommodation problems including convergence insufficiency, poor accommodation, and accommodative infacility. Convergence and divergence recovery are the most affected visual skills in children with learning disabilities in Malaysia.

Keywords: Learning disabilities, Malaysian children, visual acuity, visual skills

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