Eye-movement disorders and visual-perceptual impairment in diplegic children born preterm: a clinical evaluation

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1998 Oct;40(10):682-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1998.tb12328.x.


The visual-motor behaviour of 15 preterm diplegic children and 50 control children (age range 4 to 7 years) was recorded on video as they performed a visual-perceptual task (an adaptation of the Animal House subtest of the Wechsler Preschool Primary Scale of Intelligence). The following parameters were analysed and scored: time to perform task; omissions; figure-colour association; sequence direction; sequential scanning order; accuracy of fitting target; and number of anticipatory saccadic movements to next target. The ability of the control children to perform the task improved significantly with age, as measured by performance time, mistakes in sequence direction and scanning order, accuracy of target fitting, and number of anticipatory saccadic movements. The scores of children with diplegia were not related to age and were poorer overall than those of the control group. Children with diplegia made significantly more mistakes of sequence direction and scanning order, and significantly fewer anticipatory saccadic movements than the control group. These results indicate that visual-perceptual impairment in diplegic children born preterm is not attributable only to sensory visual loss and to fine manipulation difficulties but is also related to difficulties in eye movements and in using anticipatory control to process information.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Visual Perception*