Objectives: To examine cognitive abilities of low-income preschoolers with uncorrected ametropia and effects of spectacle correction.
Methods: Baseline and 6-week data from a longitudinal controlled study were analyzed. Subjects were 70 preschoolers (mean age, 4.6 years; 60.0% were female; and 85.7% were Latino), including 35 children with previously uncorrected ametropia and 35 emmetropic control subjects. Ametropia was defined as bilateral hyperopia of 4.00 diopters (D) or more in children aged 3 to 5 years, astigmatism of 2.00 D or more in children aged 3 years and 1.50 D or more in children aged 4 and 5 years, or a combination of both. Emmetropia was defined as 2.00 sphere diopters or less and 1.00 cylinder diopter or less in both eyes. Ametropes were assessed before and 6 weeks after correction and compared with control subjects. Primary and secondary outcome measures were Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration and Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised scores, respectively.
Results: At baseline, uncorrected ametropes scored significantly lower on the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (P = .005) and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised performance scale (P = .01). After 6 weeks of correction, the ametropic group significantly improved on the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration compared with emmetropic control subjects (P = .02).
Conclusions: Preschoolers with uncorrected ametropia had significant reduction in visual-motor function. Wearing spectacles for 6 weeks improved Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration scores to emmetropic levels.