Purpose. To determine the prevalence, nature, and degree of accommodative dysfunction among children with different types and severities of cerebral palsy (CP) in Northern Ireland. Methods. Ninety subjects with CP (aged 4–15 years) were recruited through the Northern Ireland CP Register (NICPR). Modified Nott dynamic retinoscopy was used to measure lag and lead of accommodation at three test distances: 25 cm (4 D), 16.7 cm (6 D), and 10 cm (10 D) with the distance correction in place. Accommodative function was also assessed in an age-matched control group (n = 125) for comparison. Each subject’s neurologic status was derived from the NICPR. Results. Children with CP demonstrate significantly reduced accommodative responses compared with their neurologically normal peers. Of the subjects with CP, 57.6% demonstrated an accommodative lag outside normal limits at one or more distances. Reduced accommodative responses were significantly associated with more severe motor and intellectual impairments (ANOVA P = 0.001, P < 0.01, respectively). Conclusions. Brain injury such as that present in CP has a significant impact on accommodative function. These findings have implications for the optometric care of children with CP and inform our understanding of the impact of early brain injury on visual development.
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