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Maureen K. Powers; Visual Skills and Reading Before and After Computer Orthoptics. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):5460.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To determine the effect of using a computer orthoptics program on visual skill levels and reading efficiency in children reading far below grade level.
Six subjects (S), US school grades 3-8, were recruited from a local school district by recommendation from Special Education (SE) staff. All were either in SE or being considered for SE due to reading problems of unknown origin. Acuities were 20/30 OU or better. At a first session, symptoms (Borsting et al., 2003) and visual skills (convergence near point, break, recovery; accommodative facility; tracking: Grisham et al., 2007; Powers et al., 2008) and reading efficiency (Visagraph) were measured. Subjects then came to the laboratory 3-5 times per week to participate in computer orthoptics training (Powers, 2006), which consisted of viewing red/blue images through filter lenses and/or accommodative training lenses in a 4-alternative forced choice paradigm. The program was self-paced but provided 3 min exercises of accommodative facility plus 6 minutes each of tracking and convergence/divergence training per session. Ss participated in 30 sessions. Assessments were repeated after orthoptics training was completed. Total program length was 4 months.
Five Ss completed all 30 sessions. One S (grade 8) completed only 3 sessions. For those who completed all sessions, average symptom score before orthoptics was 14.6; after orthoptics 7.4 (p =.008). Average near point of convergence before was 7 cm; after was 4.8 cm (p =.010). Accommodative facility before was 11.2 cpm; after 15.8 cpm (p=.012). Convergence break improved by 2 or more steps (minimum 4 prism diopters) in all cases where training was competed. Tracking changes were not significant; however Visagraph measures improved (see image): Average grade level efficiency improved by more than 1.0; 2 subjects improved more than 2 grade levels. Teachers report better classroom behavior as well as reading improvement. The S who did not participate did not improve either skills or reading.
Visual skills training via orthoptics can improve visual skills in students who are reading far below grade level. Reading efficiency, measured via Visagraph, also improves. The relationship between these measures and school outcomes remains to be determined.
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