A new American study suggests dyslexic children have more visual deficiencies than non-dyslexic students. These findings could lead to a better understanding of how ophthalmologic treatments may help dyslexia patients.
Scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Boston Children’s Hospital examined the eyes of almost 30 dyslexic and 33 non-dyslexic students. They soon discovered that dyslexic students suffered from accommodation deficits more than the non-dyslexic patients. Only three non-dyslexic children had accommodation deficits versus 16 in the dyslexia group.
Dyslexic students were also more likely to have vergence deficits and problems with ocular motor tracking. In the dyslexia group, ten students had vergence deficits and 18 had ocular motor tracking issues. By contrast, five non-dyslexic students had vergence deficits and five had ocular motor tracking problems.
While this research shows a connection between vision problems and dyslexia, study authors say they still need more data to better understand this correlation. Researchers are now working on studies to see whether treating these visual deficiencies will improve dyslexic students’ reading scores.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disorder that makes it challenging for children to learn how to read and write. Warnings signs of dyslexia include difficulty learning new vocabulary and extremely slow reading.
Current estimates show one in ten people have dyslexia. Standard treatments include extra tutoring, speech therapy, and psychological counseling.
Dr. Aparna Raghuram, who teaches at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology, was one of the lead authors on this study. A few other researchers on this project include Drs. Sowjanya Gowrisankaran, Emily Swanson, and David Zurakowski.
JAMA Ophthalmology published this study under the title, “Frequency of Visual Deficits in Children With Developmental Dyslexia.”