May 04, 2016
1 min read

Visual skill training improves reading skills

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SEATTLE – Children reading below grade level showed improved reading outcomes after basic visual skill training when compared to traditional reading training, according to a poster presented here at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting.

Maureen K. Powers, PhD, and colleagues evaluated 17 public school children in fourth and fifth grade who were reading below grade level with no specific diagnosis. Subjects participated in 30 online computer sessions, each lasting 20 minutes. Eight received a visual skills intervention that included tracking, vergence and accommodative facility training with red/blue image separation, and nine received a reading skills intervention that included tracking, guided reading and comprehension with no image separation.

Researchers measured binocular skills, consisting of convergence fatigue, blur at near, tracking symptoms and reading efficiency, before and after the training. They found that symptoms (or comfort level), developmental eye movement tracking and reading all improved in the visual skills training group, according to the poster.

Powers and colleagues noted that future research with better randomization and more subjects “may lead to changes in reading instruction strategy, where a student’s physical visual status is considered an important prerequisite to cognitive reading success.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO


Powers MK, et al. Comparison of visual skills training and reading skills training for reading improvement in students reading below grade level. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting; May 1-5, 2016; Seattle.

Disclosures: Powers has ownership in Gemstone Educational Management LLC, which provided the visual skills program.