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C. L. Allison, D. Schlange; Eye Movements and Their Relationship to Birth Order. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):2545.
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The purpose of this phase I pilot study is to evaluate the relationship that birth order may have in relation to the development of eye movement skills. It is theorized that first children, and children with no siblings, may exhibit better eye movement skills prior to entering Kindergarten due to the types of play activities that they perform.
Thirty-one children were examined the summer prior to entering Kindergarten. The age range of these children was 4 to 6 years old. The children were given a full comprehensive eye examination including tests of accommodation and vergence, as well as a full ocular health evaluation. The children also received a recording and analysis of their eye movements using the Visagraph Visual Skills protocol. The parents filled out a survey regarding the number and ages of the siblings, prior school history, and the amount of time the children spent on specific tasks such as reading books with a parent or playing near vision type games.
Children who were first in birth order exhibited better fixation control with fewer off-target drifts, more efficient horizontal saccade excursions, shorter duration time of fixations, and improved functional symmetry between right and left eye movements. These observations were also noted on the children that were read to more often, and performed more near vision games.
The type of activities that first born children are encouraged to perform may lead to better eye movement skills by the time they are of the age to enter elementary school. This may result in early school success and earlier reading when compared to children later in the birth order. It will be of value to look at larger numbers of children to determine if this trend continues, and what specific activities promote improvement in eye movement skills.
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