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Authors
Aparna Raghuram, OD, PhD,; Sowjanya Gowrisankaran, PhD; Emily Swanson, BS

Frequency of Visual Deficits in Children With Developmental Dyslexia

publication date
October 2018
Category
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Abstract/Introduction

Importance:  Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a specific learning disability of neurobiological origin whose core cognitive deficit is widely believed to involve language (phonological) processing. Although reading is also a visual task, the potential role of vision in DD has been controversial, and little is known about the integrity of visual function in individuals with DD.

 

Objective: To assess the frequency of visual deficits (specifically vergence, accommodation, and ocular motor tracking) in children with DD compared with a control group of typically developing readers.

 

Design, Setting, and Participants:  A prospective, uncontrolled observational study was conducted from May 28 to October 17, 2016, in an outpatient ophthalmology ambulatory clinic among 29 children with DD and 33 typically developing (TD) children.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Primary outcomes were frequencies of deficits in vergence (amplitude, fusional ranges, and facility), accommodation (amplitude, facility, and accuracy), and ocular motor tracking (Developmental Eye Movement test and Visagraph eye tracker).


Conclusion/Results

Results:  Among the children with DD (10 girls and 19 boys; mean [SD] age, 10.3 [1.2] years) and the TD group (21 girls and 12 boys; mean [SD] age, 9.4 [1.4] years), accommodation deficits were more frequent in the DD group than the TD group (16 [55%] vs 3 [9%]; difference = 46%; 95% CI, 25%-67%; P < .001). For ocular motor tracking, 18 children in the DD group (62%) had scores in the impaired range (in the Developmental Eye Movement test, Visagraph, or both) vs 5 children in the TD group (15%) (difference, 47%; 95% CI, 25%-69%; P < .001). Vergence deficits occurred in 10 children in the DD group (34%) and 5 children in the TD group (15%) (difference, 19%; 95% CI, –2.2% to 41%; P = .08). In all, 23 children in the DD group (79%) and 11 children in the TD group (33%) had deficits in 1 or more domain of visual function (difference, 46%; 95% CI, 23%-69%; P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that deficits in visual function are far more prevalent in school-aged children with DD than in TD readers, but the possible cause and clinical relevance of these deficits are uncertain. Further study is needed to determine the extent to which treating these deficits can improve visual symptoms and/or reading parameters.


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Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


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Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


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I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.


Allen B.
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