June 2017
Volume 58, Issue 8
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2017
The association between visual health and mental health outcomes in children
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Casey L McBride
    Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, Florida, United States
  • Sara Bijan
    University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Casey McBride, None; Sara Bijan, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2017, Vol.58, 2412. doi:
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      Casey L McBride, Sara Bijan; The association between visual health and mental health outcomes in children. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):2412.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : It is well demonstrated that among adults poor visual health is associated with poor mental health outcomes. However, few studies have examined to see if this association exists in children. The goal of this research is to examine if poor visual health in children ages 5 – 17 is also associated with poor mental health outcomes.

Methods : Data were obtained from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). This nationally representative cross-sectional survey of 95,677 parents concerning various aspects of their children’s health (ages 0 - 17) was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. Parents reported if their child had any visual problems, which were unable to be corrected by standard glasses or contact lenses, and if a health care provider told them their child suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, a conduct disorder, or depression. Children who were born premature and under the age of five were excluded from analysis. A multivariate logistic regression was performed in order to produce the odds ratio (OR) of association between a child having poor visual health and a poor mental health outcome, while adjusting for the child’s race and family income.

Results : Overall, poor visual health in children ages 5 to 17 is associated with poor mental health outcomes. Children with poor visual health were 92% more likely to have ADHD (OR=1.92; 95% CI: 1.47, 2.50, 98% more likely to have anxiety (OR=1.98; 95% CI: 1.43, 2.74), 116% more likely to have a conduct disorder (OR=2.16; 95% CI: 1.47, 3.17), and 76% more likely to have depression (OR=1.76; 95% CI: 1.20, 2.60).

Conclusions : These findings suggest a strong association between poor visual health and poor mental health outcomes in children aged 5 to 17. Our conclusions are limited by the cross-sectional and self-report nature of the study.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.


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