June 15, 2017
1 min read

Reduced visual acuity associated with a decline in reading efficiency

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Researchers found that a significant decline in reading efficiency was associated with reduced visual acuity.

The prospective, cross-sectional study within the Born in Bradford birth cohort examined the association between reduced visual acuity and reading efficiency in children from 6 to 7 years and was reported at the Association for Vision and Research in Ophthalmology meeting.

Researchers recruited 886 children upon school entry at 4 or 5 years of age. Visual acuity and literacy were measured annually over a 3-year period.

The reading efficiency test, TOWRE2, was introduced in year 3 of the study and administered on the same day as the vision assessment.

In year 3, 504 children remained in the study, and 460 of them had a recorded visual acuity and had completed TOWRE2.

The reading efficiency score reduced by 3.03 points for every one line reduction in visual acuity, researchers reported. When they adjusted to account for cognitive ability, demographic factors or socioeconomic factors, the impact of visual acuity remained significant in the multivariable model, with the score reducing by 2.25 points for every one line reduction in visual acuity.

“We are following up with a smaller group of children to find out the impact of poor vision on their reading ability and have found that children with the poorest vision had a reduction in their literacy scores, even taking into account other factors,” author Alison Bruce, OD, PhD, said in a summary provided to ARVO.


Bruce A, et al. Visual acuity and early literacy at 6-7 years: A reduction in visual acuity is associated with decreased reading efficiency in school children. Presented at: Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting; May 7-11, 2017; Baltimore.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.