Evaluation of methods for assessing visual function of infants.

Thomas Prager, Y. L. Zou, C. L. Jensen, J. K. Fraley, R. E. Anderson, W. C. Heird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Commonly used behavioral and electrical testing methods for estimation of visual acuity and visual function in infants yield different estimates and may not accurately predict visual acuity and visual function in later life. Moreover, neither test-retest variability nor side-by-side comparisons of the various methods have been thoroughly evaluated in the same infant population. The purpose of this study was to provide such an evaluation. METHOD: The test-retest variability of visual acuity and visual function was evaluated for the Teller Acuity Card (TAC) procedure, sweep visual evoked potential (VEP), as well as latency and amplitude measured by transient pattern VEP. Groups of approximately 20 infants contributed test-retest data. Visual function estimated by the various methods in a larger group of infants (n = 118) was compared. Correlations between methods and the validity of the various methods to detect maturational changes between 4 and 8 months of age were also assessed. Administration of these tests was according to standard and usual procedures. RESULTS: The average percent difference between test and retest estimates of acuity as well as the SD was lowest for transient VEP latency (3%, 7% SD). The other methods were markedly more variable: sweep VEP (2%, 22% SD), TAC procedure (8%, 20% SD), and transient VEP amplitude (7.5%, 39% SD). Average coefficients of variation showed a similar trend: transient VEP latency, 8%; sweep VEP, 15%; TACs, 30%; and transient amplitude, 53%. Correlations among estimates by the methods were poor, but expected changes in visual maturation from 4 to 8 months of age were detected with all methods. CONCLUSIONS: All methods evaluated provide valid and reliable test-retest data for a group, but are less valid for estimating visual acuity and visual function of an individual subject. The poor correlations between any 2 of the testing methods suggest that each test assesses a different aspect of vision. Nonetheless, expected maturational changes between 4 and 8 months of age were readily detectable by all methods evaluated.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of methods for assessing visual function of infants.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this