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DEM Test, Visagraph Eye Movement Recordings, and Reading Ability in Children

Webber, Ann*; Wood, Joanne; Gole, Glen; Brown, Brian

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31820846c0
Original Article

Purpose. To determine how Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test results relate to reading eye movement patterns recorded with the Visagraph in visually normal children, and whether DEM results and recorded eye movement patterns relate to standardized reading achievement scores.

Methods. Fifty-nine school-age children (age = 9.7 ± 0.6 years) completed the DEM test and had eye movements recorded with the Visagraph III test while reading for comprehension. Monocular visual acuity in each eye and random dot stereoacuity were measured and standardized scores on independently administered reading comprehension tests [reading progress test (RPT)] were obtained.

Results. Children with slower DEM horizontal and vertical adjusted times tended to have slower reading rates with the Visagraph (r = −0.547 and −0.414 respectively). Although a significant correlation was also found between the DEM ratio and Visagraph reading rate (r = −0.368), the strength of the relationship was less than that between DEM horizontal adjusted time and reading rate. DEM outcome scores were not significantly associated with RPT scores. When the relative contribution of reading ability (RPT) and DEM scores was accounted for in multivariate analysis, DEM outcomes were not significantly associated with Visagraph reading rate. RPT scores were associated with Visagraph outcomes of duration of fixations (r = −0.403) and calculated reading rate (r = 0.366) but not with DEM outcomes.

Conclusions. DEM outcomes can identify children whose Visagraph recorded eye movement patterns show slow reading rates. However, when reading ability is accounted for, DEM outcomes are a poor predictor of reading rate. Visagraph outcomes of duration of fixation and reading rate relate to standardized reading achievement scores; however, DEM results do not.

*PhD, MS, BAppSc(Optom)

PhD, FAAO

MD

School of Optometry and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology (AW, JW, BB), and Discipline of Paediatrics, University of Queensland, Royal Children's Hospital (GG), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

This work was supported by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI).

Received May 16, 2010; accepted September 13, 2010.

Ann Webber, School of Optometry and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, e-mail: al.webber@qut.edu.au

© 2011 American Academy of Optometry