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Victoria Pueyo, Jason C. S. Yam, Teresa Perez-Roche, Victoria Balasanyan, Marta Ortin, Gerardo Garcia, Esther Prieto, Chau Pham, Diego Gutierrez, Olimpia Castillo, Belen Masia, Adrian Alejandre, Mohamed Bakkali, Marta Ciprés, Eduardo Esteban-Ibañez, Alvaro Fanlo-Zarazaga, Inmaculada Gonzalez, Ivan Z. K. Gutiérrez-Luna, Xian Pan, Juan Pinilla, María Romero-Sanz, Valeria Sanchez-huerto, Marina Vilella, Nguyen Xuan Tinh, Nguyen Xuan Hiep, XiuJuan Zhang, TrackAI Research Consortium; Development of oculomotor control throughout childhood: A multicenter and multiethnic study. Journal of Vision 2022;22(13):4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.13.4.
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Although steady fixation is a key aspect of a proper visual function, it is only subjectively assessed in young and uncooperative children. In the present study, we characterize the development of fixational behavior throughout childhood in a large group of healthy children 5 months of age and up, recruited in five geographically diverse sites. In order to do it, we examined 802 healthy children from April 2019 to February 2020. Their oculomotor behavior was analyzed by means of an automated digital system, based on eye-tracking technology. Oculomotor outcomes were gaze stability, fixation stability and duration of fixations (for both long and short fixational tasks), and saccadic reaction time. Ninety-nine percent of all recruited children were successfully examined. Fixational and saccadic performance improved with age throughout childhood, with more pronounced changes during the first 2 years of life. Gaze and fixation tended to be more stable with age (p < 0.001 for most the outcomes), and saccades tended to be faster. In a multivariate analysis, including age and ethnicity as independent variables and adjusting by data quality, age was related with most fixational outcomes. Our automated digital system and eye-tracking data allow us to quantitatively describe the development of oculomotor control during childhood, assess visual fixation and saccadic performance in children 5 months of age and up, and provide a normative reference of fixational outcomes for clinical practice.
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