There is limited data in the literature concerning the visual status and skills in children with learning disabilities, particularly within the Asian population. This study is aimed to determine visual acuity and visual skills in children with learning disabilities in primary schools within the suburban Kota Bharu district in Malaysia.
We examined 1010 children with learning disabilities aged between 8–12 years from 40 primary schools in the Kota Bharu district, Malaysia from January 2009 to March 2010. These children were identified based on their performance in a screening test known as the Early Intervention Class for Reading and Writing Screening Test conducted by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Complete ocular examinations and visual skills assessment included near point of convergence, amplitude of accommodation, accommodative facility, convergence break and recovery, divergence break and recovery, and developmental eye movement tests for all subjects.
A total of 4.8% of students had visual acuity worse than 6/12 (20/40), 14.0% had convergence insufficiency, 28.3% displayed poor accommodative amplitude, and 26.0% showed signs of accommodative infacility. A total of 12.1% of the students had poor convergence break, 45.7% displayed poor convergence recovery, 37.4% showed poor divergence break, and 66.3% were noted to have poor divergence recovery. The mean horizontal developmental eye movement was significantly prolonged.
Although their visual acuity was satisfactory, nearly 30% of the children displayed accommodation problems including convergence insufficiency, poor accommodation, and accommodative infacility. Convergence and divergence recovery are the most affected visual skills in children with learning disabilities in Malaysia.