Monday, March 30, 2015

Astigmatism and academic readiness in pre-school children

There is a new study on vision and learning.  This one investigates the relationship between uncorrected astigmatism and early academic readiness in preschool aged children.

The researchers did a vision screening on 122 three- to five-year-old children enrolled in the Philadelphia Head Start program and examined their academic records.  Children with astigmatism were compared with children who had no astigmatism and looked to see if astigmatism was associated with measures of academic readiness. To assess academic readiness, the researchers used two tests, the teacher-reported Work Sampling System (WSS) and the parent-reported Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ).

The results provide further evidence of the impact that vision has on learning.  The researchers found that the presence of astigmatism was negatively associated with multiple domains of academic readiness. Children with astigmatism scored lower of a variety of academic and developmental measures.  

Here are the results in the study's own words:

Children with astigmatism had significantly lower mean scores on Personal and Social Development, Language and Literacy, and Physical Development domains of the WSS, and on Personal/Social, Communication, and Fine Motor domains of the ASQ. These differences between children with astigmatism and children with no astigmatism persisted after statistically adjusting for age and magnitude of spherical refractive error. Nonparametric tests corroborated these findings for the Language and Literacy and Physical Health and Development domains of the WSS and the Communication domain of the ASQ.

The results reinforce the need for comprehensive vision examinations, and the need for refractive correction to improve academic success in preschool children.  Remember, eye exams with your optometrist are covered by MSP in British Columbia.  There is no need for any child in this province to begin academic life with a disadvantage.


Astigmatism and Early Academic Readiness in Preschool Children
Orlansky, Gale*; Wilmer, Jeremy†; Taub, Marc B.‡; Rutner, Daniella§; Ciner, Elise‡; Gryczynski, Jan∥
Optometry & Vision Science:
March 2015 - Volume 92 - Issue 3 - p 279–285


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