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The effect of simulated astigmatic refractive error on reading performance

Wills, Jocelyn, Gillett, Robyn, Eastwell, Emily, Abraham, Rachel, Coffey, Kristin, Webber, Ann L., & Wood, Joanne M. (2012) The effect of simulated astigmatic refractive error on reading performance. Optometry and Vision Science, 89(3), pp. 271-276.

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Abstract

Background: Few studies have specifically investigated the functional effects of uncorrected astigmatism on measures of reading fluency. This information is important to provide evidence for the development of clinical guidelines for the correction of astigmatism. Methods: Participants included 30 visually normal, young adults (mean age 21.7 ± 3.4 years). Distance and near visual acuity and reading fluency were assessed with optimal spectacle correction (baseline) and for two levels of astigmatism, 1.00DC and 2.00DC, at two axes (90° and 180°) to induce both against-the-rule (ATR) and with-the-rule (WTR) astigmatism. Reading and eye movement fluency were assessed using standardized clinical measures including the test of Discrete Reading Rate (DRR), the Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test and by recording eye movement patterns with the Visagraph (III) during reading for comprehension. Results: Both distance and near acuity were significantly decreased compared to baseline for all of the astigmatic lens conditions (p < 0.001). Reading speed with the DRR for N16 print size was significantly reduced for the 2.00DC ATR condition (a reduction of 10%), while for smaller text sizes reading speed was reduced by up to 24% for the 1.00DC ATR and 2.00DC condition in both axis directions (p<0.05). For the DEM, sub-test completion speeds were significantly impaired, with the 2.00DC condition affecting both vertical and horizontal times and the 1.00DC ATR condition affecting only horizontal times (p<0.05). Visagraph reading eye movements were not significantly affected by the induced astigmatism. Conclusions: Induced astigmatism impaired performance on selected tests of reading fluency, with ATR astigmatism having significantly greater effects on performance than did WTR, even for relatively small amounts of astigmatic blur of 1.00DC. These findings have implications for the minimal prescribing criteria for astigmatic refractive errors.

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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 47283
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: astigmatism, eye movements, reading speed, visual acuity
DOI: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182429c6b
ISSN: 1040-5488
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Deposited On: 29 Nov 2011 11:11
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2014 11:16

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