The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of (hyperopic or myopic) spectacle correction in reading speed of 9- to 10-year-old children.
Subjects were recruited at their schools. Initial selection was based on reduced distance acuity and/or a positive blur test. Final inclusion depended on cycloplegic refraction. Forty-three myopes were prescribed glasses. Sixty-five hyperopes were randomized to three groups: (1) no glasses, (2) +0.5DS for both eyes, and (3) full correction. Before and 4 to 6 months after prescription of glasses, reading speed was tested: One-Minute Test (reading speed of genuine words) and the Klepel (reading speed of nonwords). Data for this second reading test were obtained in 34 myopes and 48 hyperopes.
At baseline, myopes had about 11% higher One-Minute scores (p = 0.005) and about 9% higher Klepel scores (p = 0.066) than hyperopes. At follow-up, the hyperopia–full correction group improved its One-Minute score by about 13% more than both the no-glasses group (p = 0.012) and +0.5DS group (p = 0.019). Spectacles did not, or only slightly, improve reading scores of myopes (One-Minute scores, p = 0.068; Klepel scores, p = 0.021).
Correction of hyperopia may increase speed of reading (as reflected by the One-Minute score). The fact that reading speed of nonwords does not increase after correction suggests that hyperopia affects speed of recognition but not decoding per se.