Perceptual visual dysfunction, physical impairment and quality of life in Bangladeshi children with cerebral palsy

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Abstract

Background

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of motor disability in children and is often accompanied by sensory and/or cognitive impairment. The aim of this study was to characterise visual acuity impairment, perceptual visual dysfunction (PVD) and physical disability in a community-based sample of Bangladeshi children with CP and to assess the impact of these factors on the quality of life of the children.

Methods

A key informant study was used to recruit children with CP from Sirajganj district. Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels and visual impairment were assessed by a physiotherapist and an optometrist, respectively. Assessments of visual perception were performed and standardised questionnaires were administered to each child's main carer to elicit indicators of PVD and parent-reported health-related quality of life. A generalised linear regression analysis was conducted to assess the determinants of the quality of life scores.

Results

180 children were recruited. The median age was 8 years (IQR: 6–11 years); 112 (62%) were male; 57 (32%) had visual acuity impairment and 95 (53%) had some parent-reported PVD. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, GMFCS and acuity impairment, visual attention (p<0.001) and recognition/navigation (p<0.001) were associated with total health-related quality of life, and there were similar trends for total PVD score (p=0.006) and visual search (p=0.020).

Conclusions

PVD is an important contributor in reducing quality of life in children with CP, independent of motor disability and acuity impairment. Better characterisation of PVD is important to help design interventions for affected children, which may improve their quality of life.

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