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The intention of this study was to investigate sleep problems in children who had a wide range of visual impairments. Recruitment was via an online survey distributed through the National Federation of Blind and National Organisation for Albinism and Hypopigmentation, in the USA. Survey sections addressed characteristics of the child, sleep habits / problems, general demographics, level of visual impairment, other medical problems, and sleep treatment. In addition, the Childhood Sleep Habits questionnaire was completed. This was a three-month survey in 2020 which was completed by 72 parents. Children were aged one to 16 years - average 5.92 ±3.8 years (36 males, 36 females). Fifteen had taken part in a previous sleep study. Nine children were diagnosed with sleep apnoea, eight had tonsillectomy, 17 were prescribed a hypnotic agent for sleep, 17 had seen a sleep physician, four had melatonin level assessment and three had ferritin levels assessment. Forty children had had no sleep assessment. Cycles of good / bad sleep were reported by 52 and 50 reported significant stress to the family. High questionnaire scores were found in 64 indicating clinically significant sleep problems. Comorbid developmental delay was associated with sleep problems. The most helpful treatment was supplemental melatonin. The authors recommend that clinicians be aware and ask regarding sleep problems in children who have visual impairment, given the high prevalence of sleep problems and potential to treat this.

Sleep challenges and interventions in children with visual impairment.
Ingram DG, Cruz JM, Stahl ED, et al.
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Fiona Rowe (Prof)

Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool, UK.

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