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01.09.2009 | Pediatrics | Ausgabe 9/2009

Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology 9/2009

Relationship between oculomotor scanning determined by the DEM test and a contextual reading test in schoolchildren with reading difficulties

Zeitschrift:
Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology > Ausgabe 9/2009
Autoren:
Catalina Palomo-Álvarez, María C. Puell
Wichtige Hinweise
This research was supported by a grant from Prats Optical S.A.

Human subjects and informed consent

The authors declare that this research was performed following the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki, and that informed consent was obtained from the subjects after the nature of the study had been explained to them in detail. The study protocol was approved by the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of the School of Optometry.

Abstract

Background

The relationship between oculomotor scanning and reading in poor readers of primary school age is not well known. This study was designed to assess this relationship by determining mean Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test times and reading speeds in a Spanish non-clinical population of children with poor reading skills but without dyslexia.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional study on 81 poor readers (8–11 years of age) in the third to fifth grades recruited from 11 elementary schools in Madrid, Spain. In each subject with best spectacle correction, oculomotor scanning was measured using the DEM test, and reading speed (words per minute) was assessed by a standardized Spanish contextual reading test.

Results

Mean horizontal DEM times were higher than normative values for children in the third, fourth and fifth grades, by 20 seconds, 12 seconds, and 3 seconds respectively. Mean reading speeds were 18 words per minute lower than the norm for the third and fourth grades respectively, and 30 words per minute lower than the norm for the fifth grade. Reading speeds were significantly related to horizontal DEM times (r = −0.53, p < 0.0001). Thus, children showing a longer, or worse, horizontal DEM time achieved lower reading speeds.

Conclusions

Poor readers showed poor horizontal scanning as assessed by the DEM test that was related to a slow reading speed. This test should be used by optometric clinicians as a screening tool to help identify poor reading skills in school children at an early stage.

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