Child health, development and vision

The detection, diagnosis and management of vision problems in children is a key challenge, particularly in the context of other developmental conditions.

BVI academic Cathy Williams, funded by a prestigious NIHR Senior Research Fellowship, is undertaking a systematic review of interventions for children with vision and other problems, including analysis of optic nerve morphology, assessment of cognitive visual function, nutritional predictors of visual function, and eye movement studies. The research has also piloted a game for children with visual field loss.

Alexandra Creavin, Cathy Williams and Colin Steer (and Raghu Lingam from Newcastle University) conducted the first large scale study in the world to assess vision abnormalities in a populationbased cohort, studying almost 6,000 ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children) participants, investigating links between visual function and dyslexia. The work showed that the majority of children with severe dyslexia had normal vision and that the few impairments found also occurred in non-dyslexic children. This indicated that dyslexia is not primarily a vision problem and that vision-based therapies (like coloured filters or lenses) are not justified or likely to help.

Cathy's work into visual impairments was the inspiration behind Luke Jerram's residency at the Bristol Eye Hospital and subsequent Impossible Garden project.

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