Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether reduced fine motor skills in children with amblyopia improve after binocular treatment and whether improvements are sustained once treatment has ceased.
Methods: Fine motor skills (FMS [Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency]), visual acuity (VA [Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study chart]) and level of binocular function (BF [Randot preschool stereoacuity and Worth 4 Dot]) were measured in children with amblyopia (n = 20; age: 8.5 ± 1.3 years; 11 anisometropic; 5 strabismic; 4 mixed) and in a group of visually normal children (n = 10; age: 9.63 ± 1.6 years). Eighteen children with amblyopia subsequently completed 5 weeks of binocular treatment provided by home-based dichoptic iPod game play. FMS, VA, and BF were retested at the end of treatment and 12 weeks after treatment cessation. All visually normal children also completed FMS measurements at baseline and 5 weeks later to assess test-retest variability of the FMS scores.
Results: Prior to treatment, FMS scores in children with amblyopia were poorer than those in children with normal vision (P < 0.05). In the children with amblyopia, binocular treatment significantly improved FMS scores (P < 0.05). Better baseline amblyopic eye VA and BF were associated with greater improvements in FMS score. Improvements were still evident at 12 weeks post treatment. In the visually normal children, FMS scores remained stable across the two test sessions.
Conclusions: Binocular treatment provided by dichoptic iPod game play improved FMS performance in children with amblyopia, particularly in those with less severe amblyopia. Improvements were maintained at 3 months following cessation of treatment.