Fixation instability in anisometropic children with reduced stereopsis

Eileen E. Birch, Vidhya Subramanian, David R. Weakley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Hyperopic anisometropia in children can be associated with abnormal stereoacuity and "microstrabismus," a small temporalward "flick" as each eye assumes fixation on cover testing. The prevailing hypothesis is that abnormal sensory experience leads to foveal suppression and, subsequently, secondary microstrabismus. This study investigated the hypothesis that disruption of bifoveal fusion by anisometropia directly affects ocular motor function. Methods: A total of 94 children with hyperopic anisometropia (ages 5-13 years) were evaluated prospectively between June 2010 and December 2012 with the use of the Nidek MP-1 microperimeter. Fixation instability was quantified by the area of the bivariate contour ellipse that included 95% of fixation points during a 30-second test interval. Each eye movement waveform during the 30-second test interval also was examined with the use of custom software and classified as normal, fusion maldevelopment nystagmus (FMNS), or infantile nystagmus. Finally, the Randot Preschool Stereoacuity Test (Stereo Optical Company Inc, Chicago, IL) was administered. Results: Stereoacuity was correlated with fixation instability (Spearman r = 0.50; 95% CI, 0.33-0.64); visual acuity was more weakly correlated (r = 0.28). All children with normal stereoacuity had stable fixation, children with subnormal stereoacuity had fixation instability, and those with nil stereoacuity had the most instability. Eye movement records during attempted fixation were of sufficient quality for classification in 81 children; 61% of those with reduced stereoacuity and 88% of those with nil stereoacuity had FMNS eye movement waveforms. Conclusions: Our data support the hypothesis that the binocular decorrelation caused by anisometropia can disrupt ocular motor development, resulting in FMNS and its temporalward refoveating "flicks" that may mimic microstrabismus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-290
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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