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LA Lott, G Haegerstrom-Portnoy, ME Schneck, JA Brabyn, GL Gildengorin; Predicting Reading Performance Decrements in Older Adults with Good Acuity . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):3829.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: Previously, we reported on the factors that affect reading performance in a sample of older adults (mean age=72.8 yrs) with good high contrast visual acuity (≤ 0.20 logMAR [20/32 Snellen equiv.]). When other factors were taken into account (i. e. low contrast acuity and the attentional component of the visual field [a "cognitive" measure]), age per se was not significantly associated with reading performance (Lott, et. al, OVS, 2001). Our sample has since been re-tested, and we are investigating factors that best predict subsequent declines in reading ability in elderly individuals with good acuity. Methods: Reading performance, defined as corrected reading rate in words per minute (CRR in wpm) was measured with the Pepper Visual Skills for Reading Test. Subjects also completed an extensive battery of vision tests (Haegerstrom-Portnoy, et. al., OVS, 1999). CRR change (CRR_Test 2 - CRR_Test 1) was converted to "wpm per year" (wpm/yr) to facilitate comparison between individuals with different inter-test intervals. Results: Of the original 544 older adults with good acuity, CRR data were available at re-test for N=372. Mean CRR was 93.9 wpm at Test 1, and 82.1 wpm at Test 2. The mean inter-test interval was 4.5 ± 1.0 years. Twenty-four percent of the individuals re-tested showed a drop in CRR of at least 6 wpm/yr. Logistic regression (using 6 wpm/yr as the pass/fail criterion) revealed that age and low contrast/low luminance acuity (SKILL Dark acuity) at Test 1 were both significant predictors of subsequent reading performance losses. Given a 0.3 log unit decrease in SKILL Dark acuity at Test 1 (controlling for age), subjects were 2.3 times as likely to show a 6wpm/yr or greater decrement in CRR at Test 2. The attentional component of the visual field at Test 1 did not predict reading losses at Test 2. Conclusion: Age is a significant predictor of future loss of reading ability, but a non-standard vision measure (SKILL Dark acuity) is also a robust predictor of subsequent declines in reading performance. This may be due to the fact that SKILL Dark acuity predicts future high contrast acuity loss as well (Brabyn, et al., ARVO 2002).
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