AMETROPIA, VISUAL DEFICITS AND MOTOR PERFORMANCE IN SCHOOL SPORTS

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Abstract

Background

In childhood/puberty essential physical and school developments take place. Poor eyesight in this phase represents a handicap, as is known. Concluding, the basic correlation between a good eyesight and a safe, successful engaging in sports activities, as well as a motor development are documented through numerous studies. A database concerning the topic “Ametropia in school and its consequences on motor abilities” does not yet exist.

Design

Against this background a study at 17 elementary and 6 high schools concerning ametropia in school sports, together with a simultaneous survey of motor abilities has been carried out. Participants were tested with eight tests to assess a motor fitness profile involving strength, endurance, coordination and flexibility. In parallel, various tests to detect ametropia have been carried out (visual-acuity-test, auto-refraction, stereoacuity- and contrast-sensitivity-test).

Participants

A total of 1.222 children (52.2% male; 47.8% female) at the age of 5–18 participated in the test (age: 8.9±1.7 years).

Results

A synoptic view of the visual test results showed that 25.4% of the children were classified as ametropic (needing correction). This means, a defective vision/ametropia has been discovered for the first time, or else they participated in school sports without actually needed visual aids, or rather, with insufficient correction. The children with ametropia attained significantly worse overall results in the motor performance test than the ones without defective vision (2p<0.05). 38.3% of the pupils with ametropia achieved results below or far below average in the motor performance test (emmetropic students: 12.1%). The coordination test balancing backwards showed analog results.

Conclusions

The high rate of ametropia and the correlation between eyesight in deficit and weaknesses in motor performance shows that regular visual tests are necessary in order to enable the detection and correction of deficits early. Simple screening tests should be implemented in the everyday school (sport) life.

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