Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are significantly more likely to have accommodative deficits, and associated near visual deficits, than typically developing children, according to investigators in the United Kingdom. The study, published in the March issue of Optometry and Vision Science, looked at 124 participants between ages six and 17 who had ASD, and 204 age-matched control subjects. It found 17.4% of subjects in the ASD group had significant lag in accommodation while only 4.9% of the control group displayed similar symptoms, as assessed by modified Nott dynamic retinoscopy, according to the study.1

The researchers advised, “appraisal of refractive error, accommodation and NVA should be considered in visual assessment of children with ASD.” In prior studies, researchers have discovered that children with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome are also likely to have accommodative deficits.2

1.Anketell P, Saunders K, Gallagher S, et al. Accommodative function in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Optom Vis Sci. 2018;95(3):193-201.

2. Woodhouse JM, Cregg M, Gunter HL, et al. The effect of age, size of target, and cognitive factors on accommodative responses of children with Down syndrome. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000;41(9):2479-85.