Comparative Study
Journal Article
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A comparision of short and long reading passages in symptomatic vs. asymptomatic subjects.

BACKGROUND: The visual system is necessary for reading. Understanding the mechanics of eye movements during reading can give insight into the reading process. The ReadAlyzer is an electronic recording system that measures eye movements while reading. Long passages on the ReadAlyzer of 800 words have recently been introduced as a tool to assess the efficiency of reading eye movements. Previously, short passages of 100 words have been used exclusively. This project was designed to determine if passage length influences the quality of reading eye movements;

METHODS: Optometry students (N = 40) at Southern College of Optometry were separated into 2 equal groups (symptomatic vs. asymptomatic) based on the College of Optometrists in Vision Development Quality of Life questionnaire score. Each subject then performed two reading passage recordings with the ReadAlyzer: one short, one long. The order of the passages was alternated to reduce fatigue effects. Data were collected based on the ratio of fixations-to-regressions;

RESULTS: A multivariate analysis of variance indicated that the difference between short and long paragraphs for the symptomatic and asymptomatic groups combined was significant (P = 0.001) but was not significant for the symptomatic group vs. the asymptomatic group ( P = 0. 651) . Post-hoc comparisons using estimated marginal means indicated for asymptomatic, short vs. long, P = .036 and for symptomatic, short vs. long, P = 0.008. Additionally, for short length, symptomatic vs. asymptomatic, P = 0.242 and for long length, symptomatic vs. asymptomatic, P = 0.176;

CONCLUSION: This information indicates that both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients will have more difficulty on longer reading passages. This finding calls into question the use of shorter length reading tests to determine a diagnosis of ocular motor dysfunction and other visual efficiency problems.

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