Developmental Dyslexia May Cause Vision Issues in Children

Confusion with lessons. A stressed little girl think about her homework in the room.
Confusion with lessons. A stressed little girl think about her homework in the room.
A study shows the severity of symptoms were worse in patients with developmental dyslexia than other learning disabilities.

This article is part of Optometry Advisor’s conference coverage from the 2021 meeting of the American Academy of Optometry, held in Boston from November 3 to 6, 2021. The team at Optometry Advisor will be reporting on a variety of the research presented by the primary eye care experts at the AAO. Check back for more from the AAO Optometry 2021 Meeting..

Building on their earlier research, investigators examined whether the elevation in self-reported vision symptoms they previously noted in children with developmental dyslexia could be replicated, and if those symptoms are unique to the dyslexic population or if they are present in patients with other learning disabilities. Their findings were presented at the American Academy of Optometry 2021 meeting in Boston, held November 3-6.

The research team from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School previously found that children aged 7 to 12 with developmental dyslexia reported vision issues more often than children without dyslexia. They conducted a follow-up prospective observational study.

Data were collected from 25 children with developmental dyslexia (9.4±1.3 years), 27 children without developmental dyslexia (9.8±1.3 years) and 28 previously studied children with developmental dyslexia (10.32±1.2 years). The children were asked a 9-point convergence insufficiency symptom survey related to vision (CISS-V). 

Researchers found that survey scores for the 2 dyslexia groups were not significantly different. However, the group with dyslexia from the current study tended to report more symptoms, such as tired eyes and uncomfortable eyes (P =.02 and P =.04 respectively), according to the presenters. 

More specifically, 20% of children with developmental dyslexia said they experience the following symptoms “frequently” or “always”:

  • Tired eyes (only noted by 8% of the group without dyslexia)
  • Double vision eyes (only noted by 8% of the group without dyslexia)
  • Words moving or floating on the page eyes (only noted by 4% of the group without dyslexia)
  • Blurry vision (not noted by the group without dyslexia)

The top symptom reported by all 3 groups was tired eyes while reading.

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Raghuram A, Chinn R, Peek C, et al. Vision symptoms – are they specific to children with dyslexia. Poster Presentation: American Academy of Optometry; November 3-6 2021; Boston. Board #203.