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DOI: 10.3928/01913913-20210623-01


PURPOSE: To examine sleep patterns in a large and heterogeneous group of children with visual impairment.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of parents of children with visual impairment was offered via the National Federation of the Blind and the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation.

RESULTS: Complete survey results were available for 72 participants, aged 1 to 16 years. Parents of 52 (72%) children reported that their child had cycles of good sleep and bad sleep, and 50 (69%) reported that their child's sleep patterns caused significant stress for them or their family. Scores on the Childhood Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) increased (> 41) in 64 (89%) children, indicating a likely clinically significant sleep problem. When compared to normative data from children aged 4 to 10 years, children in the current sample scored higher (more sleep problems) on all eight subscales on the CSHQ. The presence of comorbid developmental delay was most strongly associated with sleep problems. Supplemental melatonin and improving daytime and nighttime schedules or routines were reported as the most helpful for sleep. Many families reported a need for further information regarding melatonin use as a supplement.

CONCLUSIONS: A high proportion of children with visual impairment experience clinically meaningful sleep problems, regardless of degree of light perception or visual acuity. There is a strong need for increased awareness and screening for sleep problems in this population. Potential treatment modalities, including supplemental melatonin, should be discussed with families.

Journal Title

Journal of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Child; Child, Preschool; Cross-Sectional Studies; Humans; Infant; Sleep; Sleep Wake Disorders; Surveys and Questionnaires; Vision, Low


Cross-Sectional Studies; Sleep; Sleep Wake Disorders; Surveys and Questionnaires; Low Vision


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