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Irene Campus, Mabel Crescioni, Tina Green, John Twelker, Joseph Miller, Erin Harvey; Effects of Eyeglass Correction on Oral Reading Fluency in Elementary and Middle School Children. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2331.
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To examine the influence of eyeglass correction on oral reading fluency.
Eye examinations were conducted on students in grades 2-8 who failed a vision screening test. Exams included cycloplegic refraction and subjective refinement. Glasses were prescribed for children who met the following criteria: Astigmatism ≥ 1.00 D, Myopia ≥ 1.00 D on any meridian, or Hyperopia ≥ 2.50 D spherical equivalent (SE) in either eye, or anisometropia ≥ 1.50 D SE. Eyeglasses were dispensed at a second testing session several weeks after the exam for students meeting the criteria for eyeglass correction (N=21). DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) (a standardized test of accuracy and fluency with connected text) was measured at the eyeglass dispensing session, and children were tested without correction (3 passages read). Several weeks later (average 6.31 weeks, SD 4.44), after students had adjusted to their eyeglasses, DIBELS ORF was repeated while children were wearing their best correction. Students in 7th and 8th grade completed DIBELS ORF for the 6th grade level, the highest grade level available. DIBELS ORF median raw score was determined for tests conducted while uncorrected and corrected, and scores were converted to percentiles
Most students were prescribed eyeglasses for astigmatism (18) and/or myopia (14), with one meeting the criteria for hyperopia. DIBELS ORF percentile scores increased significantly an average of 7.14 (SD 11.49, p < 0.02) with eyeglass correction. Amount of improvement was not significantly correlated with time between tests (duration of new eyeglass wear).
Students who meet common criteria for eyeglass prescription show rapid improvement in reading fluency through eyeglass wear. Due to the short follow-up interval and the fact that improvement was not correlated with time from first to second test, it is likely that this effect is a result of improved visual clarity, as opposed to advances in reading skills resulting from instruction (learning). There may be additional long-term effects on reading as a result of improved visual clarity, but this study did not measure these effects. These results indicate the importance of vision screening in schools with follow-up to eye care professionals as needed.
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