April 2010
Volume 51, Issue 13
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2010
Reading Performance in the Elderly: The SKI Vision Study
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • L. A. Lott
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Inst, San Francisco, California
  • M. E. Schneck
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Inst, San Francisco, California
    School of Optometry, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • G. Haegerstrom-Portnoy
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Inst, San Francisco, California
    School of Optometry, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • S. Hewlett
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Inst, San Francisco, California
  • J. A. Brabyn
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Inst, San Francisco, California
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  L.A. Lott, None; M.E. Schneck, None; G. Haegerstrom-Portnoy, None; S. Hewlett, None; J.A. Brabyn, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH Grant EY09588 to JAB
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2010, Vol.51, 3057. doi:
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      L. A. Lott, M. E. Schneck, G. Haegerstrom-Portnoy, S. Hewlett, J. A. Brabyn; Reading Performance in the Elderly: The SKI Vision Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3057.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose: : In previous research investigating the factors that contribute to reading ability in a large sample of elders, we found that low contrast acuity, cognitive and motor processing were significant predictors of reading performance, but age was not statistically significant. The purpose of the present study is to confirm these findings and to investigate the relationship between different types of reading tests.

Methods: : Subjects are elderly individuals (ages 75 -99 yrs) who are participating in the fifth phase of the Smith-Kettlewell Institute (SKI) Longitudinal Study. All complete an extensive battery of vision tests. Reading performance is assessed using the Pepper Visual Skills for Reading Test, an oral test of random letters and words, scored for speed and accuracy (corrected reading rate, CRR = items correct/minute). Demographic data and a cognitive screening test (Mental Alternation Task, MAT) are also collected. A sub-sample of participants is completing the MNREAD and a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) reading test. Both tests provide contextual information and RSVP sentences are presented one word at a time on a monitor, not requiring eye movements. Measures of reading rate calculated from these tests are being compared to Pepper CRR and other variables.

Results: : For the participants tested to date (N=132, mean age 85.7 yrs), the association between CRR and other variables is similar to that reported previously. In the current analysis, low contrast acuity, stereoacuity, and MAT performance are significant predictors of CRR, but age is not significant. Reading rates measured by the MNREAD and RSVP tests are significantly faster than those obtained with the Pepper test. Reading rate gain for MNREAD ranged from 1 to 3 times faster than CRR, and RSVP gain ranged from 2 to 6 times improvement over CRR.

Conclusions: : In agreement with previous research, low contrast acuity and cognition, but not age, per se, are significant predictors of CRR as measured by the Pepper Test. Adding context and eliminating the need for eye movements both improve reading performance in this very old population.

Keywords: aging: visual performance • reading 
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