Certain eye conditions in children may affect performance on timed, standardized tests

Bottom Line: Children with eye conditions commonly referred to as lazy eye and crossed eyes were slower at marking answers on multiple-choice answer forms typically used in timed, standardized tests.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Impairment caused by lazy eye (amblyopia) or crossed eyes (strabismus) may affect the speed with which a child can mark answers with a pencil on a multiple-choice answer form.

Who and When: 85 school-age children (average age 10): 47 children with lazy eye, 18 children who had been treated for crossed eyes, and 20 children without these conditions for comparison; study conducted from May 2014 to November 2017

What (Study Measures and Outcomes): Children were asked to transfer the pre-marked correct answers from a standardized reading achievement test booklet to a multiple-choice answer form as quickly as possible without making mistakes or reading the text (exposures); time to complete the task (outcome)

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

Authors: Krista R. Kelly, Ph.D., Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Dallas, and coauthors

Results: Children with lazy eye or crossed eyes required approximately 28 percent more time to complete a 40 question multiple-choice answer sheet than children without eye conditions.

Study Limitations: The authors did not test children to determine whether they had dyslexia, relying on parental report regarding this criterion to be excluded from the study.

Related material: The commentary, "Visuomotor Consequences of Abnormal Binocular Vision," by Tina Y. Gao, B.Optom., Ph.D., of the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, is also available on the For The Media website.

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.2295)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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