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Can students with low vision maintain sustained reading rates?

By Jennifer D. Bevan, Glenn Barltrop, Tyra Evans, Bradley Deece, Kris Kolstad and Andrew D. Carkeet


Purpose: Students with low vision may be disadvantaged when\ud compared with their normally sighted peers, as they frequently\ud work at very short working distances and need to use low vision\ud devices. The aim of this study was to examine the sustained\ud reading rates of students with low vision and compare them with\ud their peers with normal vision. The effects of visual acuity, acuity\ud reserve and age on reading rate were also examined.\ud Method: Fifty-six students (10 to 16 years of age), 26 with low\ud vision and 30 with normal vision were required to read text continuously\ud for 30 minutes. Their position in the text was recorded\ud at two-minute intervals. Distance and near visual acuity, working\ud distance, cause of low vision, reading rates and reading habits\ud were recorded.\ud Results: A total of 80.7 per cent of the students with low vision\ud maintained a constant reading rate during the 30 minutes of\ud \ud reading, although they read at approximately half the rate\ud (104 wpm) compared with their normally sighted peers\ud (195 wpm). Only four of the low vision subjects could not complete\ud the reading task. Reading rates increased significantly with\ud acuity reserve and distance and near visual acuity but there was no\ud significant relationship between age and sustained reading rate.\ud Conclusions: The majority of students with low vision were able to\ud maintain appropriate reading rates to cope in integrated educational\ud settings. Surprisingly only relatively few subjects (16 per\ud cent) used their prescribed low vision devices even though the\ud average accommodative demand was 9 D and generally, they\ud revealed a greater dislike of reading compared to students with\ud normal vision

Publisher: Optometrists Association Australia
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2008.00341.x
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