Authors
Priyanka V. Ramesh; Mark A. Steele; Lynne Kiorpes

Attention in visually typical and amblyopic children

publication date
March 2020
Category
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Abstract/Introduction

Amblyopia is a cortical visual disorder caused by unequal visual input to the brain from the two eyes during development. Amblyopes show reduced visual acuity and contrast sensitivity and abnormal binocularity, as well as more “global” perceptual losses, such as figure-ground segregation and global form integration. Currently, there is no consensus on the neural basis for these higher-order perceptual losses. One contributing factor could be that amblyopes have deficiencies in attention, such that the attentional processes that control the selection of information favor the better eye. Previous studies in amblyopic adults are conflicting as to whether attentional deficits exist. However, studies where intact attentional ability has been shown to exist were conducted in adults; it is possible that it was acquired through experience. To test this hypothesis, we studied attentional processing in amblyopic children. We examined covert endogenous attention using a classical spatial cueing paradigm in amblyopic and visually typical 5- to 10-year old children. We found that all children, like adults, independently of visual condition, benefited from attentional cueing: They performed significantly better on trials with an informative (valid) cue than with the uninformative (neutral) cue. Response latencies were also significantly shorter for the valid cue condition. No statistically significant difference was found between the performance of the amblyopic and the visually typical children or between dominant and nondominant eyes of all children. The results showed that covert spatial attention is intact in amblyopic and visually typical children and is therefore not likely to account for higher-order perceptual losses in amblyopic children.


Conclusion/Results

Our study demonstrates that despite their visual deficits, amblyopic children are able to significantly improve the quality of their visual performance with the deployment of spatial attention to the same degree as visually typical children and similarly to amblyopic adults. Our data suggest that the endogenous attentional processes that seem to be intact in amblyopic adults are present even in children and do not result from behavioral compensation over time. Given that amblyopic attentional capability is similar to that of visually typical children, future studies exploring the effect of attentional cueing on amblyopic perceptual deficits could be beneficial for considering novel therapies.


Testimonials


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.


Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.


Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!


Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!


Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!


Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!


Alice M.
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