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Strabismus and balance in children research study

About the project

Children strabismus

Strabismus, or misalignment of the eyes, is a relatively common childhood disorder with an incidence of about 4 per cent in children under 6 years. While it primarily affects the visual field and the perception of the environment, its effects on balance control are largely unexplored.

This research investigates whether balance control is affected in children with strabismus, as they grow and develop. Results will provide insight about the nature of compensatory postural adjustments taking place in children with this condition and whether an intervention is needed to improve balance in these children.

This is a longitudinal study which involves visiting the School of Physiotherapy Balance Clinic and a Marinoto Eye Clinic four times over a period of 18 months.

Taking part in the study

We are inviting two groups of children between the ages of 5 and 9 years; 38 with a constant strabismus and 38 without this eye condition as our control group.

Strabismus group

Your child may be able to participate if their vision is impaired due to constant strabismus resulting in monocular vision.

Receiving treatment for this does not exclude them from the study but we will ask what the treatment(s) are and have been.
For further information to show your child about the study, see our child's brochure.   
For further information for parents and caregivers. 

Control group

Your child may be able to participate if there is no strabismus and any other eye condition. Wearing glasses for short/long-sightedness does not make your child ineligible.
For further information for parents and caregivers.

You will be screened for eligibility using a questionnaire undertaken over the telephone, followed by a vision/eye examination. If eligible you will be scheduled for balance testing, approximately a week later. All testing is free of charge.

We ask that the parent remains with the child throughout the appointment please.

At the balance testing appointment you will be offered a $25 grocery voucher as reimbursement towards travel and parking expenses.

More information/Contact us

Thank you for taking time to read about our study. For further details please read the information sheet. 

If you are interested and/or would like to know more about the project, please contact the Assistant Research Fellow, Jane Terry.

Phone 0800 687 489 or email strabismus@otago.ac.nz

This project has been reviewed and approved by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (Health). Reference: H19/125

Research team

Principal investigator:
Dr Prasath Jayakaran prasath.jayakaran@otago.ac.nz

Co-investigators:
Dr Logan Mitchell
Prof Leigh Hale 
Prof Rachael Taylor 
Professor Susan Whitney

Research team:

Orthoptist: Jill Parkinson.  Jill is the research orthoptist who will undertake the vision/eye examinations.

Assistant Research Fellow: Jane Terry strabismus@otago.ac.nz. Jane is the Assistant Research Fellow who will be your primary contact over the course of the study.

Research Assistant: Kaisa Kentala. Kaisa  is the research assistant at the School of Physiotherapy who will be taking the children through the balance assessment activities. 

Previous research

Our preliminary study identified differences between children with and without strabismus but it is not known whether these differences persist or change over time. Furthermore it is not known as to whether or not these children develop additional deficits in their balance performance.

Jayakaran, P., Mitchell, L., & Johnson, G. M. (2018). Peripheral sensory information and postural control in children with strabismus. Gait and Posture, 65,197 202. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.07.173)

Funding

Health Research Council of New Zealand