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Slow reading speed indicates quality of life deficit

15.05.2008
A research team from the Instituto Oftalmológico (Ophthalmology Institute) in Alicante has developed a test in Spanish called the RADNER VISSUM test, which enables near vision and reading speed to be evaluated in a standardised way.

This reading test, which already exists in English, Danish, Turkish and German, enables us to ascertain that we read an average of 80 words per minute and that that we take just over 3 seconds to read a 14 word-sentence.

The tests that are usually used to measure near visual acuity are governed by different criteria that affect the form and content of the sentences used, which makes a final evaluation difficult. The study has been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and has been carried out by the research group headed by Jorge L. Alió.

The design of this new test is based on the Radner method, and has been standardised in Spanish to reflect the similarity in the number and length of the words, as well as lexical and grammatical levels of difficulty. The reading tables contain 24 phrases and are also similar in number of syllables and words (14).

“This test measures both near visual acuity and reading speed from any distance, i.e., the most comfortable reading distance for the patient”, affirmed Alió. The design of this test is based on an adjustment scale for distance that allows ophthalmologists to translate the visual acuity values obtained into the baseline reading distance of 40 cm.

The study evaluates each patient’s reading capability by measuring his/her reading speed. The researchers point out that “a normal reading speed is 80 words per minute”. The test was tried out on different groups of patients with different cultural levels in order to obtain an understandable trial, regardless of their socio-cultural levels.

An experiment with 60 persons without eye disease

The study evaluated 60 volunteers without any eye disease that could influence the results. The participants were divided into two groups (university education and junior school education). The first group attained an average reading time of 3.51 seconds, and the second group attained 4.12 seconds, the average reading time being 3.81 seconds for all of the sentences.

“As was expected, the reading time was longer for those phrases the readers found most difficult to read. So, the group with a lower level of education made more errors in reading and they read slower than the group with a university education”, underline the authors.

The research can be used in cases of eye disease (cataracts, macular degeneration and amblyopia), by taking into consideration that “a slow reading speed indicates visual function and quality of life deficits”. In this way, this test could be used in future studies to measure the reading speed of patients with multifocal intraocular lens implants (IOLs).

SINC Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

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