Low-vision devices can significantly improve visual performance for children with chorioretinal coloboma-caused impairment, according to a new study. The research, conducted by a team from Portugal, reviewed the cases of six children (median age: 11.5) with the rare condition. It found that Keplerian telescopes helped them achieve a significant median improvement in distance best-corrected visual acuity of 0.75 logMAR. These patients also had improved contrast sensitivity, near reading acuity, critical print size and reading speed.1

According to Tracy Matchinski, OD, a 22-year veteran of low-vision pediatric care, this study emboldens the kind of results she and her colleagues see everyday. “All children with visual impairment, including those with chorioretinal coloboma, benefit from low vision rehabilitation services,” she says. Magnification devices do improve visual performance, but she adds that the full scope of services her specialty offers are vital for children with low vision. These include education for visual impairment, orientation and mobility counseling and assistive technology. “All low vision rehabilitation providers advocate for comprehensive low vision rehabilitation,” she says. These strategies “empower the child to have all the tools and services they need to excel in their education, personal growth and enjoyment of life.”   

Bilateral chorioretinal coloboma occurs in 3.2% to 11.2% of all blind children, and results from incomplete closure of the optic fissure during the fifth to seventh week of gestation.2

1. Rodrigues T, Cortez L, Murta J, Paiva C. Low-vision aids improve the visual performance of children with bilateral chorioretinal coloboma. JAAPOS. www.jaapos.org/article/S1091-8531(17)30872-8/fulltext. Accessed May 25, 2018.
2. Barnard S, Shneor E, Brauner J, et al. Bilateral chorioretinal coloboma discovered with ultra-wide field retinal imaging. J Optom. 2012 Mar;5(3):150-4.2. Onwochei BC, Simon JW, Bateman JB, et al. Ocular colobomata. Surv Ophthalmol. 2000 Nov-Dec;45(3):175-94.3. Pagon RA. Ocular coloboma. Surv Ophthalmol. 1981 Jan-Feb;25(4):223-36.