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Fatema Ghasia, Janice Brunstrom, Mae Gordon, Lawrence Tychsen; Frequency and Severity of Visual Sensory and Motor Deficits in Children with Cerebral Palsy: Gross Motor Function Classification Scale. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(2):572-580. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-0525.
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purpose. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a permanent, nonprogressive disorder of movement and posture due to a lesion of the fetal or infant brain. The goal was to determine whether children with different severities of CP, as defined using the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), had different degrees or types of visual dysfunction.
methods. An observational, cross-sectional–design study was conducted by using neurologic and masked ophthalmic measurements on a representative cohort of 50 children with CP. Mean age was 5.6 years (range, 2–19.5 years); mean gestational age was 31 weeks.
results. The likelihood of debilitating visual deficits was greater in children with higher GMFCS scores, independent of gestational age. Children with level 5 disease (most severe) were at greatest risk for high myopia, absence of binocular fusion, dyskinetic strabismus, severe gaze dysfunction, and optic neuropathy or cerebral visual impairment (CVI). These deficits were rare or absent in children with the mildest disease, level 1. When categorized by anatomic or physiologic CP subtype, diplegic and spastic children were more often hyperopic and esotropic, but had the highest prevalence of fusion and stereopsis. In contrast, children with quadriplegic and mixed CP (dyskinetic, athetoid, hypotonic, and ataxic) more often had high myopia, CVI, dyskinetic strabismus, and gaze dysfunction.
conclusions. Visual deficits differ in children who have mild versus severe CP. Children with GMFCS level 1 to 2 have sensorimotor deficits resembling those of neurologically normal children with strabismus and amblyopia; children at level 3 to 5 have more severe deficits, not observed in neurologically normal children.
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