Binocular barriers to reading overlooked

Study finds binocular anomalies may be holding children back at school even when they are judged to have ‘20/20’ vision through standard tests

A child reading a book

A new study has emphasised the importance of conducting binocular vision assessments in all children, particularly those experiencing reading difficulties.

The Journal of Optometry study of 121 children between the ages of six and 14 found that 81% of children did not have significant refractive error.

However, tests for binocular vision found that more than a third of the group scored below what is considered normal.

Study author, Dr Lisa Christian, emphasised that the task of reading requires the eyes to work together as well as visual acuity.

“A complete binocular vision assessment is not always part of the standard vision test. However, binocular vision problems could be compounding a child’s academic difficulties and should be investigated,” she highlighted.