Reading and hand-eye coordination deficits in children with amblyopia may impede these patients’ abilities to demonstrate their knowledge, compete in physical activities and interact with others. Because perceived scholastic, athletic and social competences are key determinants of self-esteem in school-aged children, these deficits may influence self-perception, according to a new study.

Upon investigating this phenomenon, a team of researchers from Texas suggests that amblyopia does lower one’s self-perception, which they observed is associated with slower reading speed and worse motor skills.

This cross-sectional study evaluated 50 children with amblyopia, 13 children without amblyopia who had strabismus or anisometropia or both, and 18 unaffected children as controls. The researchers assessed self-perception using the Self-perception Profile for Children scale, which analyzes several domains: scholastic, athletic and social competence and physical appearance, behavioral conduct and global self-worth. They also assessed reading speed and hand-eye task performance with the Readalyzer (Bernell) and Movement Assessment Battery for Children.

The team discovered that children with amblyopia had significantly lower scores compared to controls for scholastic, athletic and social competence domains. Among children with amblyopia, they note that a lower self-perception of scholastic competence was associated with slower reading speed and a lower self-perception of scholastic, athletic and social competence was associated with worse performance of aiming and catching. They did not find any difference in the self-perception of physical appearance or global self-worth between the amblyopic and control groups.

Birch EE, Castañeda YS, Cheng-Patel CS, et al. Self-perception of school-aged children with amblyopia and its association with reading speed and motor skills. JAMA Ophthalmol. November 15, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].