Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 9, pp 3041–3047 | Cite as

Brief Report: Vision in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: What Should Clinicians Expect?

  • Pamela M. Anketell
  • Kathryn J. Saunders
  • Stephen M. Gallagher
  • Clare Bailey
  • Julie-Anne Little
Brief Report


Anomalous visual processing has been described in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but relatively few studies have profiled visual acuity (VA) in this population. The present study describes presenting VA in children with ASD (n = 113) compared to typically developing controls (n = 206) and best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) in a sub-group of children with ASD (n = 29). There was no statistically significant difference in presenting VA between groups (z = −1.75, p = 0.08); ASD group median VA (interquartile range, IQR) −0.05 logMAR (IQR: −0.125 to 0.025 logMAR) and typically developing control group −0.075 logMAR (IQR: −0.150 to −0.025 logMAR). Median BCVA was −0.175 logMAR (IQR: −0.200 to −0.125 logMAR) for the ASD sub-group. Clinicians should not anticipate reduced VA when assessing children with ASD.


Visual acuity Vision Autism Asperger’s syndrome ASD 



This work was supported by the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Research and Development for Northern Ireland (EAT/4197/09). We would like to thank Dr Khan for assistance with recruitment, Dr Lesley Doyle and Dr Sara McCullough for assistance with data collection and Mrs Clare Stevens and Mrs Joy Peters for providing test facilities. We are grateful to all participants and schools who consented to involvement in the study including Bangor Central Primary School, Belmont House, Castle Gardens Primary School, Foyleview School, Knockavoe School, Londonderry Primary School, Loretto College, Strangford College and Victoria Primary School. This work was previously presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Meeting (Seattle, USA, 2013).

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela M. Anketell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kathryn J. Saunders
    • 1
  • Stephen M. Gallagher
    • 3
  • Clare Bailey
    • 4
  • Julie-Anne Little
    • 1
  1. 1.Vision Science Research GroupUniversity of UlsterColeraineNorthern Ireland, UK
  2. 2.Orthoptic Department, Royal Victoria HospitalBelfast Health and Social Care TrustBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK
  3. 3.School of PsychologyUniversity of UlsterColeraineNorthern Ireland, UK
  4. 4.Department of PaediatricsNorthern Health and Social Care TrustAntrimNorthern Ireland, UK

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