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Eileen E. Birch, PhD1,2; Yolanda S. Castañeda, BSN1; Christina S. Cheng-Patel, BS

Self-perception in Children Aged 3 to 7 Years With Amblyopia and Its Association With Deficits in Vision and Fine Motor Skills

publication date
February 14, 2019
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Importance: Deficits in fine motor skills and slow reading speed have been reported in school-aged children and adults with amblyopia. These deficits were correlated with lower self-perception of athletic and cognitive competence. Although perceived competence and social acceptance are key determinants of developing self-perception in young children, the association of amblyopia with self-perception and the association of altered self-perception with fine motor skills to date have not been reported for young children aged 3 to 7 years.


Objectives: To investigate whether amblyopia is associated with altered self-perception in young children and to assess whether any differences in self-perception are associated with deficits in vision and fine motor skills.


Design, Setting, and Participants:  In this cross-sectional study, conducted at a pediatric vision laboratory from January 10, 2016, to May 4, 2018, healthy children aged 3 to 7 years (preschool to second grade) were enrolled, including 60 children with amblyopia; 30 children who never had amblyopia but had been treated for strabismus, anisometropia, or both; and 20 control children.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Self-perception was assessed using the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children, which includes the following 4 specific domains: cognitive competence, peer acceptance, physical competence, and maternal acceptance (total score range, 1-4; higher scores indicate higher perceived competence or acceptance). Fine motor skills were evaluated with the Manual Dexterity and Aiming and Catching scales of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, second edition (score range, 1-19; higher scores indicate better skill performance). Visual acuity and stereoacuity also were assessed.


Results: Children with amblyopia (28 girls and 32 boys; mean [SD] age, 6.3 [1.3] years) had significantly lower mean (SD) peer acceptance and physical competence scores compared with the control children (peer acceptance, 2.74 [0.66] vs 3.11 [0.36]; mean difference, 0.37; 95% CI for difference, 0.06-0.68; P = .04; and physical competence, 2.86 [0.60] vs 3.43 [0.52]; mean difference, 0.57; 95% CI for difference, 0.27-0.87; P = .009). Among the children with amblyopia, self-perception of physical competence was significantly correlated with aiming and catching skills (r = 0.43; 95% CI, 0.10-0.67; P = .001) and stereoacuity (r = −0.39; 95% CI, −0.05 to −0.65; P = .02). Children treated for strabismus or anisometropia, but who never had amblyopia, also had significantly lower mean (SD) physical competence scores compared with control children (2.89 [0.54] vs 3.43 [0.52]; 95% CI for difference, 0.23-0.85; P = .03).

Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that lower self-perception of peer acceptance and physical competence identify the broad effects of altered visual development in the everyday life of children with amblyopia.


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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