To assess the relationship between vision and reading outcomes in Indigenous and non-Indigenous schoolchildren to determine whether vision problems are associated with lower reading outcomes in these populations.
Vision testing and reading assessments were performed on 508 Indigenous and non-Indigenous schoolchildren in Queensland, Australia divided into two age groups: Grades 1 and 2 (6–7 years of age) and Grades 6 and 7 (12–13 years of age). Vision parameters measured included cycloplegic refraction, near point of convergence, heterophoria, fusional vergence range, rapid automatized naming, and visual motor integration. The following vision conditions were then classified based on the vision findings: uncorrected hyperopia, convergence insufficiency, reduced rapid automatized naming, and delayed visual motor integration. Reading accuracy and reading comprehension were measured with the Neale reading test. The effect of uncorrected hyperopia, convergence insufficiency, reduced rapid automatized naming, and delayed visual motor integration on reading accuracy and reading comprehension were investigated with ANCOVAs.
The ANCOVAs explained a significant proportion of variance in both reading accuracy and reading comprehension scores in both age groups, with 40% of the variation in reading accuracy and 33% of the variation in reading comprehension explained in the younger age group, and 27% and 10% of the variation in reading accuracy and reading comprehension, respectively, in the older age group. The vision parameters of visual motor integration and rapid automatized naming were significant predictors in all ANCOVAs (P < .01). The direction of the relationship was such that reduced reading results were explained by reduced visual motor integration and rapid automatized naming results.
Both reduced rapid automatized naming and visual motor integration were associated with poorer reading outcomes in Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. This is an important finding given the recent emphasis placed on Indigenous children’s reading skills and the fact that reduced rapid automatized naming and visual motor integration skills are more common in this group.
School of Optometry and Vision Science, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (SH, PH, JW); and School of Medicine (Optometry), Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia (GS).
Shelley Hopkins, QUT Health Clinics—Optometry, Ground Floor, 44 Musk Ave, Kelvin Grove, QLD, 4059, Australia, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org