Amblyopia risk factors in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are usually hard to detect in early childhood due to poor cooperation and has not been reported in the Chinese population. We screened 168 Chinese children with ASD, aged between 3 and 8 years, and 264 age-matched neurotypical children with Spot photoscreener and basic ophthalmologic examinations. Children with ASD were found to have normal refractive status but significantly higher incidence of strabismus (16.1%), compared with control children (1.5%) (p < 0.01). Most of the cases of strabismus found in children with ASD were classified as esodeviation. Strabismus in children with ASD should be considered more seriously as an amblyopia risk factor by ophthalmologists and other healthcare professionals.
Keywords: Amblyopia; Autism; Children; Refractive status; Risk factor; Strabismus.