Philadelphia, April 17, 2008 Babies with an eye-alignment disorder called infantile esotropia have delays in motor development milestones, but development catches up after corrective surgery, reports a study in the April Journal of AAPOS (American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus).
Led by James R. Drover, PhD, of the Retina Foundation of Southwest Texas, Dallas, the researchers assessed developmental milestones in 161 infants with infantile esotropia, or crossed eyes. These infants need surgery on the eye muscles to correct the alignment. However, it has been unclear whether surgery to correct esotropia influences other aspects of infant development.
To answer this question, the researchers had parents complete an infant development questionnaire before and/or after corrective surgery. The questionnaire assessed fine-motor skills, such as grasping a toy and handling a bottle (sensorimotor development); as well are large-muscle skills, such as sitting, standing, and walking (gross motor development). A group of children with normal eye alignment were studied for comparison.
Before surgery, infants with esotropia had delays in both milestones. The developmental delays appeared as early as four to five months of age and were still present at ten months.
The sensorimotor delays were particularly profound, and probably reflected the importance of normal binocular vision (both eyes working together) in fine-muscle tasks. The delays in gross motor development, while not as severe, were still significant.
In contrast, infants tested after esotropia surgery had no delays in developmental milestones. In fact, they actually had a faster rate of sensorimotor development, suggesting that correcting their binocular vision helped their development to catch up to that of normal infants.
Infantile esotropia is one of a group of disorders called strabismus, in which the eyes are not aligned normally. Wi
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