Purpose: Oculomotor dysfunction is a common finding among school-aged children that can make school performance difficult. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether school-aged children with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are more likely to have oculomotor dysfunction than school-aged children without an IEP using the Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) Test.
Methods: This project evaluated children with and without IEPs between the ages of 8 and 13 years old (inclusive) who presented to the Illinois Eye Institute at Princeton for a comprehensive eye exam. A student clinician administered the test and the principal investigators completed the scoring and data analysis.
Results: A total of 102 patients were evaluated, 30 of whom had an IEP. The average age was 10.60 years for those without an IEP and 10.62 for those with an IEP. The mean percentiles for subjects without an IEP were 42.63 (± 31.11) for vertical performance, 27.97 (± 28.48) for horizontal performance, 40.74 (± 32.86) for errors, and 31.61 (± 31.31) for ratio. For subjects with an IEP, the mean percentiles were 24.52 (± 25.96) for vertical, 14.42 (± 23.88) for horizontal, 20.68 (±26.58) for errors, and 29.28 (± 35.69) for ratio. There was a statistically significant difference in performance in vertical time (p = 0.006), horizontal time (p = 0.016), and errors (p = 0.002) between the two groups; but the difference in ratio of horizontal time to vertical time was not statistically significant (p = 0.743). Of children with IEPs, 83.3% exhibited abnormal performance on the DEM, while only 55.6% of children without an IEP had abnormal performances.
Conclusion: A correlation was shown between having an IEP and abnormal performance on the DEM. In all areas, subjects without IEPs outperformed subjects with IEPs.