Friday, August 1, 2014

Reading and vision training - saccadic vision training works

Dr. Dominick Maino has an excellent post on the blog of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development about a new study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics by a group of researchers including one from the Illinois College of Optometry that shows that vision training (vision therapy) for saccadic eye movements improves reading in children.

The study was designed as a prospective, single-blinded, randomized cross-over trial.  The researchers took 76 elementary school students in kindergarten to grade three and assessed their reading fluency using the Reading Fluency subtest of the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test Third Edition and King-Devick Test.  A group of students were then given vision training of the kind that we provide at our Vancouver vision clinic for 20 minutes a day for six weeks, three days per week.  Another group was given no vision training therapy at all.   Treatment was conducted for 6 weeks for 20 minutes per day, 3 days per week using the remediation software noted above.

The results were that the group that received vision therapy treatment had significantly higher reading fluency scores after treatment (P < .001), and post-treatment scores were significantly higher than the control group (P < .005). The conclusion was that saccadic training can significantly improve reading fluency.

The authors of the study "hypothesize that this improvement in reading fluency is a result of rigorous practice of eye movements and shifting visuospatial attention, which are vital to the act of reading."

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