Purpose: 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.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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).
Conclusions: 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.