A new study published in the journal Opthalmology has found that children with farsightedness that goes uncorrected have an associated reduction in early literacy in preschoolers.
While previous research have found an association between uncorrected vision problems and reading levels in school-aged children, there have not been large research studies specifically assessing the same vision difficulties and school-readiness skills in preschool children.
A recent study, the Vision in Preschoolers-Hyperopia in Preschoolers study, specifically addressed farsightedness in preschool children. The study involved almost 500 preschool children between the ages of 4 and 5 years. The study compared children with normal vision with children who had farsightedness that went untreated. The study revealed that children with uncorrected vision had significantly worse results on a preschool early literacy test when compared with children who had normal vision.
The study underscores the importance of regular eye-checks in preschoolers; uncorrected vision problems can make it difficult for children to see close-up and therefore directly impacts on literacy and school readiness, according to program director of Collaborative Clinical Research at the National Eye Institute, Maryann Redford.
“These differences are meaningful because formal learning for many children begins in the preschool years,” says lead researcher Dr. Kulp. “In addition, other research exploring the long-term effect of early deficits in literacy has shown them to be associated with future problems in learning to read and write. This makes early detection of these problems important.”
NIH News Release: “Uncorrected Farsightedness Linked to Literacy Deficits in Preschoolers” https://nei.nih.gov/news/pressrelease/farsightedness_linked_literacy_deficits
Kulp, MT, Ciner E et al. “Uncorrected Hyperopia and Preschool Early Literacy: Results of the Vision In Preschoolers – Hyperopia In Preschoolers (VIP-HIP) Study.” Ophthalmology, January 27, 2016