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Approximately one in ten students aged 6 to 16 in Ontario (Canada) school boards have an individual education plan (IEP) in place due to various learning disabilities, many of which are specific to reading difficulties. The relationship between reading (specifically objectively determined reading speed and eye movement data), refractive error, and binocular vision related clinical measurements remain elusive.
One hundred patients were examined in this study (50 IEP and 50 controls, age range 6 to 16 years). IEP patients were referred by three local school boards, with controls being recruited from the routine clinic population (non-IEP patients in the same age group). A comprehensive eye examination was performed on all subjects, in addition to a full binocular vision work-up and cycloplegic refraction. In addition to the cycloplegic refractive error, the following binocular vision related data was also acquired: vergence facility, vergence amplitudes, accommodative facility, accommodative amplitudes, near point of convergence, stereopsis, and a standardized symptom scoring scale. Both the IEP and control groups were also examined using the Visagraph III system, which permits recording of the following reading parameters objectively: (i) reading speed, both raw values and values compared to grade normative data, and (ii) the number of eye movements made per 100 words read. Comprehension was assessed via a questionnaire administered at the end of the reading task, with each subject requiring 80% or greater comprehension.
The IEP group had significantly greater hyperopia compared to the control group on cycloplegic examination. Vergence facility was significantly correlated to (i) reading speed, (ii) number of eye movements made when reading, and (iii) a standardized symptom scoring system. Vergence facility was also significantly reduced in the IEP group versus controls. Significant differences in several other binocular vision related scores were also found.
This research indicates there are significant associations between reading speed, refractive error, and in particular vergence facility. It appears sensible that students being considered for reading specific IEP status should have a full eye examination (including cycloplegia), in addition to a comprehensive binocular vision evaluation.
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Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.
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