Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

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moomintroll
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Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

Post by moomintroll » Mon May 25, 2015 8:08 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-32836733
Teams from Bristol and Newcastle universities carried out eye tests on more than 5,800 children and did not find any differences in the vision of those with dyslexia.

This raises doubts about the value of using coloured overlays or lenses to help dyslexic children with reading.

Report co-author Alexandra Creavin said eyesight was "very unlikely" to be the cause of such reading problems.

The study draws on a long-term tracking study in the Bristol area, which has followed the health of more than 14,000 children since the 1990s.

About 3% of children have severe dyslexia and researchers, using a sample of 5,822 children from this tracking study, carried out detailed eye examinations on dyslexic and non-dyslexic children.

'Perfect vision'

They found that those with dyslexia were no more or less likely to have any sight or eye-related problems, such as short or long sightedness, squints or difficulties in focusing.

"Some practitioners feel that vision impairments may be associated with dyslexia and should be treated. However, our study results show that the majority of dyslexic children have entirely normal vision on the tests we used," said Cathy Williams, lead author and a paediatric ophthalmologist.

Where there were dyslexic children with eye problems, the occurrence was no more likely than for non-dyslexics, the study found. And a large majority of dyslexic children were defined as having "perfect vision".

This raised doubts about vision-based forms of assistance, such as using coloured filters to help with reading. This can include putting coloured acetate sheets over a page or wearing tinted lenses.

Dr Creavin, from the University of Bristol, said the research showed the need for clearer, evidence-based guidance for parents on what might help.

Dr Williams said the study was not looking for other possible causes for dyslexia, but it was the biggest study examining whether there was any link to children's vision.

Colour filters

John Rack, director of education and policy at Dyslexia Action, said the charity backed the report's findings.

"However, not everyone has followed us in following the evidence, and the view that dyslexia is rooted in some problems in vision or visual processing is still widespread.

"The confusion comes in part from the fact that a minority of people who are dyslexic do find that text is significantly clearer when viewed through a coloured filter or lens. And some who are not dyslexic experience the same kind of benefit," said Dr Rack.

Kate Saunders, chief executive of the British Dyslexia Association, said that "some children and adults report benefits" from using coloured lenses or filters.

She said reading tests showed that such coloured filters could help people with dyslexia.

elsiep
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Re: Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

Post by elsiep » Mon May 25, 2015 9:00 am

Does anyone have a link to this paper? The New Scientist link didn't work.

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Susan Godsland
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Re: Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

Post by Susan Godsland » Mon May 25, 2015 4:15 pm

Ophthalmic Abnormalities and Reading Impairment

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/c ... 2.abstract
OBJECTIVES: To explore associations between specific learning disorder with impairment in reading (dyslexia) and ophthalmic abnormalities in children aged 7 to 9 years.

METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis was performed on cohort study data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Reading impairment was defined according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition criteria. Children who achieved >2 SD below the mean in the Neale Analysis of Reading Ability Scale II and level <4 in nonmathematical national key stage 2 tests were defined as having severe reading impairment (SRI). Children with blindness or IQ <70 were excluded.

RESULTS: Data were available for 5822 children, of whom 172 (3%) met the criteria for SRI. No association was found between SRI and strabismus, motor fusion, sensory fusion at a distance, refractive error, amblyopia, convergence, accommodation, or contrast sensitivity. Abnormalities in sensory fusion at near were mildly higher in children with SRI compared with their peers (1 in 6 vs 1 in 10, P = .08), as were children with stereoacuity worse than 60 seconds/arc (1 in 6 vs 1 in 10, P = .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Four of every 5 children with SRI had normal ophthalmic function in each test used. A small minority of children displayed minor anomalies in stereoacuity or fusion of near targets. The slight excess of these children among those with SRI may be a result of their reading impairment or may be unrelated. We found no evidence that vision-based treatments would be useful to help children with SRI.

elsiep
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Re: Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

Post by elsiep » Mon May 25, 2015 8:42 pm

Thank you!

So the 'dyslexia' bar was set quite high - 3% instead of 10-15% - and the incidence of ophthalmic anomalies increased from 10% to 16% within that group. Maybe not significant but still there. Not quite the impression the press release gave.


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Re: Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue May 26, 2015 10:57 pm

A teacher sent this message to me:

Another thought, regarding the report on the BBC website re dyslexia and eyes/coloured overlays etc. I have read lots of comments and blogs about this but the most important point has not been mentioned anywhere. Once children get these coloured overlays/glasses it is seen as job done, so the children do not get the true support and interventions they need. So the 'MISdiagnosis ?? actually has a negative impact.

elsiep
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Re: Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

Post by elsiep » Wed May 27, 2015 5:32 am

How right that teacher is. The job isn't done until the exact nature of the problem has been identified and addressed with the most appropriate solution (s).

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Re: Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

Post by pjay » Sun May 31, 2015 4:04 pm

I am very sceptical about visual explanations for 'dyslexia'. As someone who is probably as 'undyslexic' as it is possible to be- learned to read in a matter of weeks aged four, English graduate who reads at speed - I nevertheless have scotopic sensitivity and find reading from a screen or certain types of paper very uncomfortable. I happily hand out coloured overlays to pupils and parents whilst at the same time telling them that dyslexia is caused by deficits of memory and speed of recall.

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Re: Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

Post by elsiep » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:26 pm

This illustrates the drawbacks of research showing correlations.

pjay isn't dyslexic but has scotopic sensitivity.
It doesn't follow that children who also have scotopic sensitivity don't also have difficulties with reading.
Or that they don't have other visual impairments that might contribute to their reading difficulties.

elsie p

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