July 2019
Volume 60, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
Specificity and retention of perceptual learning in children with visual impairment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Bianca Huurneman
    Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen, Netherlands
    Royal Dutch Visio, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • Nienke Boonstra
    Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen, Netherlands
    Royal Dutch Visio, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • Jeroen Goossens
    Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Bianca Huurneman, None; Nienke Boonstra, None; Jeroen Goossens, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  VIVIS Grant VJ2016-01
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2019, Vol.60, 1059. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Bianca Huurneman, Nienke Boonstra, Jeroen Goossens; Specificity and retention of perceptual learning in children with visual impairment. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):1059.

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

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Abstract

Purpose : There is evidence that a pen-and-paper training based on perceptual learning principles improves near visual acuity in young children with visual impairment (Huurneman et al. IOVS 2013;54(9):6208-6216). Whether training improves distance visual acuity and whether training effects are retained over time is unclear. The aim of the present study is to measure transfer of learning effects to distance visual acuity changes and evaluate long term effects of the training.

Methods : Sixteen children aged 4-8 years with visual impairment and visual acuity ranging between 0.3 and 1.3 logMAR participated. Children were divided in an age- and acuity-matched early (n = 9) and late intervention group (n = 7). Training was given during six weeks, with two 30-minute training sessions per week. Dependent variables were uncrowded and crowded binocular near (40 cm) and distance visual acuity (300 cm) and crowding intensities. In the early inclusion group measures were collected at 0 months (before training), at 2 months (directly after training), at 8 months (6 months after training) and at 14 months (12 months after training) since inclusion. In the late intervention group training started at 8 months since inclusion and three baseline measurements were performed to provide control data for the early intervention group. Short term effects were evaluated by comparing changes in visual acuity between the 0 and 2 months measure. Long-term effects were evaluated by comparing acuities measured at 2 and 8 months and at 2 and 14 months.

Results : At short term, we found a replication of the earlier reported training effect on uncrowded and crowded near visual acuity (resp. 0.16 logMAR p = 0.0005, and 0.09 logMAR p = 0.0456). Distance visual acuities did not change after training. There was a trend for a reduction of crowding intensity at near (0.07 logMAR, p = 0.0982), but not at distance. Improvements in crowded and uncrowded near visual acuity were intact 6 months after training (mean ± SEM percentage retention, resp. 108 ± 9%, and 112 ± 10%) and 12 months after training (resp. 121 ± 13 % and 113 ± 12 %).

Conclusions : The training effects of the pen-and-paper training seem to be specific for the trained distance and failed to transfer to viewing distances strongly differing from the trained distance. Training effects on near visual acuity are retained over time.

This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.

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