Children with visual impairment more likely develop mental health problems – Optometry Today

Children aged between eight and 11 years old who live with a visual impairment are three times more likely to develop a mental health problem than children with no visual impairment, according to new research.

Research has revealed that a third of these children are at high risk of anxiety or mood disorders with around half showing difficulties in quality of life or adaptive behaviour.

Clinical academics from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (ICH) presented the findings at a conference held at the ICH in London (2–4 July) with the Mary Kitzinger Trust and the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC).

Consultant clinical psychologist and lead researcher at GOSH and ICH, Dr Naomi Dale, said: “Visual impairment puts high challenges on learning and development and mental health from the earliest days after birth and throughout childhood. The risks are even higher in those children with very low or no vision.”

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