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Reading performance in foveal and peripheral vision



Focus: School years


Topic: Assessment

Victoria Santhanaraj

Spl. Educator & Consultant

INEDICO

OCPM Girls Hr.Sec.School

Madurai.

Tamilnadu- India.


Introduction


Reading is not performed through continuous eye movement but through sudden changes of fixation, fixating a given point in a space, encompassing the surrounding letters. The speed limit of the eye to shift from one fixation to another is determined by the time that brain takes to process the information input. Faster reading is not achieved by quicker eye movement but an expansion of visual field. Visual process plays an important part in print reading. Reading speed is a factor specially affected by visual deficits. The reading speed is influenced by factors like visual acuity, kind of pathology, kind of optical help etc., For many young people with vision impartment the inability to read is the most serious consequence of their eye disease because of the input it may have on learning process. Low vision persons have some differential characters that sometimes teachers do not evaluate. Textual information is processed differently by foveal and peripheral regions of retina.


Goal


            The primary goal of the study was to compare the reading performance of the persons having foveal fixation with that of peripheral fixation. This study may support the educators to understand the differential characters of low vision persons while reading.

Methods

Subject

            The target group comprises of students between the age of 15 – 20 years who experience either central field loss or peripheral restrictions. 20 subjects for each group totaling 40 subjects were selected. The subjects having the visual acuity from 6/24 – 6/36 were taken. The students with central vision were considered as group I and students with peripheral vision were group II. Al the subjects have been reading for more than 5 years.

            The cause of low vision for each subject was obtained from the ophthalmologist’s records.

Table-1 : Cause of low vision and the field loss.

Cause of Low vision

 

Field Loss

 

Number of Subjects

 

Macular Degeneration

 

Central

 

10

 

Taxoplasmosis

 

Central

 

2

 

Amblyopia

 

Central

 

6

 

Macular Coloboma

 

Cenrtral

 

2

 

Retinitis Pigmentosa

 

Peripheral

 

7

 

Glaucoma

 

Peripheral

 

10

 

Retinoblastoma

 

Peripheral

 

1

 

Visual Pathways

 

Peripheral

 

2

 

Test

            Reading test was designed which was made of sentences ranging from N24 – N6. Each sentence has 4 lines an average of 10 words per sentence. Each print size of the test was printed on a separate page. The subjects were instructed to read the sentence aloud at normal reading rate, not to correct or repeat missed words and to maintain reading continuity. No reading distances were given. No reading spectacles or magnifies were used by the subjects.  The number of words correctly read were recorded and the reading rate was calculated as words correctly read per minute (wpm) for each print size. Near visual acuity was considered as the smallest print size at which the subjects correctly read atleast 75% of words in a sentence.

Results

            The number of words read per minute ranged from 22 – 148 and 14 – 132 by the subjects with foveal and peripheral fixation respectively.

Table – 2 : Reading rate at foveal and peripheral fixation :-

Word per Minute (wpm)

 
Text Box: Word per Minute (wpm)

Print Size

 
 
   

Table:2: Critical print size of the reader

Critical print size

 

No. subjects (Group I)

 

No. subjects (Group II)

 

N 18

 

-

 

1

 

N 14

 

1

 

3

 

N 12

 

8

 

10

 

N 10

 

7

 

6

 

N 8

 

4

 

-

 

Table:3:

            The number of confusions, skipped lines and regressions made by both the group were taken into account.

Confusions

 

Group I

 

Group II

 

0-10

 

80%

 

80%

 

10-20

 

14%

 

16%

 

More than 20

 

  6%

 

  4%

 

Regressions

 

 

 

0-5

 

95%

 

100%

 

More than 5

 

5%

 

-

 

Skipped lines

 

 

 

None

 

90%

 

82%

 

One or More

 

10%

 

18%

 

Conclusions

            Results from this study show that the maximum reading speed achieved with meaningful sentences is slower using peripheral vision than using foveal vision. The results suggests that difference in reading rate with eccentricity are not predominantly due to variations in the visual process underlying word recognition, and that fovea is better equipped to use the context available in meaningful sentences to maximize reading rate. Their tracking and scanning skills are better and make more use of semantic and syntactic redundancies. When the print size is smaller, it showed a marked drop. Therefore the results from this study indicate that students with low vision need print sizes between 2 times to 4 times larger than their threshold print size to achieve maximum reading rate.

References

1.                 R.T. Jose (Ed.), Understanding Low Vision, ISBN: 0 89128 1193. American Foundation for the Blind, New York, 1985.

2.                 KEEFEE JE, assessment and educational implications of albinism, Pohthal Paed Genetics 1990; 2: 215-224.

3.                 LOVIE-KITCHAN J. Letter to the editor – Reading performance of people with low vision. J Vis Rehab 1993; 7(4) : 3.

4.                 Visual Impairment Research 2000, Vol. 2. No. 1, pp. 33-41.

5.                 BACKMAN, O. and INDE, K. Low vision Training, ISBN : 91-23 – 92132 – 3. Liber Hermods, Kristianstad, 1979.

6.                 VISION’96, V International Conference on low vision proceedings. Book 2


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