To investigate the functional impact of amblyopia in children, the performance of amblyopic and age-matched control children on a clinical test of eye movements was compared. The influence of visual factors on test outcome measures was explored.
Eye movements were assessed with the Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test, in a group of children with amblyopia (n = 39; age, 9.1 ± 0.9 years) of different causes (infantile esotropia, n = 7; acquired strabismus, n = 10; anisometropia, n = 8; mixed, n = 8; deprivation, n = 6) and in an age-matched control group (n = 42; age, 9.3 ± 0.4 years). LogMAR visual acuity (VA), stereoacuity, and refractive error were also recorded in both groups.
No significant difference was found between the amblyopic and age-matched control group for any of the outcome measures of the DEM (vertical time, horizontal time, number of errors and ratio(horizontal time/vertical time)). The DEM measures were not significantly related to VA in either eye, level of binocular function (stereoacuity), history of strabismus, or refractive error.
The performance of amblyopic children on the DEM, a commonly used clinical measure of eye movements, has not previously been reported. Under habitual binocular viewing conditions, amblyopia has no effect on DEM outcome scores despite significant impairment of binocular vision and decreased VA in both the better and worse eye.