Uncorrected Farsightedness Linked to Literacy Deficits in Preschoolers
A study funded by NEI has shown that uncorrected farsightedness (hyperopia) in preschool children is associated with significantly worse performance on a test of early literacy.
The results of the Vision in Preschoolers-Hyperopia in Preschoolers study, which compared 4- and 5-year-old children with uncorrected hyperopia to children with normal vision, found that children with moderate hyperopia did significantly worse on the Test of Preschool Early Literacy than their normal-vision peers.
“This study suggests that an untreated vision problem in preschool, in this case one that makes it harder for children to see things up-close, can create literacy deficits that affect grade school readiness,” said Dr. Maryann Redford, a program director in collaborative clinical research at NEI.
In most children with hyperopia, the condition is mild and has little impact on vision. A small number of preschool children have high hyperopia that is corrected with eyeglasses. It’s estimated that 4-14 percent have moderate hyperopia, which often goes undiagnosed and untreated.
“Prior studies have linked uncorrected hyperopia and reading ability in school-age children,” said Dr. Marjean Taylor Kulp, distinguished professor in the College of Optometry at Ohio State University and lead author of the study. “But large-scale investigations looking at reading readiness skills hadn’t been conducted in preschool children. This study was necessary to determine whether or not, at this age, there was a link between the two.”
The results were published Jan. 27 in Ophthalmology.