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M.K. Powers, D. Grisham; Visual Skills: Comparison Between School and Clinical Data . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):1999.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: To compare new data gathered in a clinical setting to existing data on the prevalence and remediation of visual skills deficits in school children. Methods: 170 patients in a private practice were screened for vergence ranges, saccadic tracking ability and accommodative facility between May and December 2002, using the same methods as in schools (ARVO 2001, 2002). All patients had been recommended for visual skills screening by an optometrist, who made the recommendation based either on symptoms, reported reading problems, or his or her own observations. Modified MCT measures were taken, including vergence ranges, near point of convergence, near point of accommodation, accommodative facility, Developmental Eye Movement DEM) Test, and (in some cases) Visagraph II. "Deficiency" was defined according to established clinical standards (ARVO 2001). Those patients who were recommended for computer-based visual skills training were re-screened after 30 sessions of training. Data were compared to results from previous screenings carried out at school sites. Results: The ages of patients screened ranged from 7 to adult. Of the 170 screened, 83 (49%) failed one or more of the screening tests. This percentage is similar to that obtained from 18 California and Tennessee schools between Fall 2000 and Fall 2002, where 1727 out of 3623 students screened (56%) had deficient visual skills. The distribution of the deficits across the various visual skills was also similar to that found in schools, in that an approximately equal proportion of those patients with deficient visual skills had problems in each area. In the patient sample, 39% had deficient vergence ranges, 40% had accommodative infacility, and 36% were deficient in DEM tracking. Half (50%) reported significant symptoms. Of the 83 who were recommended for visual skills training, 48 (54%) elected to participate. Of that number, 24 (50%) participated at home via internet. Upon re-screening of the individuals who had finished 30 sessions by December (N=5), 3 had improved in each deficient area. Two of the 3 improved their Visagraph reading levels by more than 2 grade levels. Conclusions: A comparison of the descriptive statistics of a patient population with similar statistics gathered through in-school screening implies that the prevalence of visual skills deficits may be similar among poor readers in the two environments. The results suggest that visual skills problems may be present in about half of patients who either complain of symptoms or express some concerns about their reading ability.
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