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March 07, 2018 Wednesday 01:03:40 PM IST

Elementary school children who tend to read below grade level may have difficulties with their eyesight even if standard tests show they see 20/20, says a new study at the University of Waterloo. The study shows children with reading challenges may have lower than expected binocular vision test results, data that a standard eye test may not capture.“A complete binocular vision assessment is not always part of the standard vision test,” said Dr. Lisa Christian, lead researcher on the project and an Associate Clinical Professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Waterloo. “However, binocular vision problems could be compounding a child’s academic difficulties, and should be investigated.” The study carried out a “retrospective review” of 121 children between the ages of 6-14 with an Individual Education Plan for reading. Though more than three quarters of the students had good eyesight, more than a third of the group scored below what was normal when tested for binocular vision. Optometrists classify binocular vision variances under three main categories: accommodation, vergence and oculomotor, with symptoms often seeming benign or masked.