In an effort to determine how visual disabilities impact primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients and emphasize the importance of developing strategies to improve their reading abilities, a team of Italian researchers investigated reading performances and the relationship between visual field (VF) damage and reading parameters. They found that glaucoma patients read slower and make more mistakes than their healthy counterparts.

This cross-sectional, observational study evaluated 80 POAG patients and 60 healthy controls. All participants underwent complete ophthalmic evaluations that included VF and reading performance testing. Parameters included reading acuity, reading speed in words per minute, maximum reading speed, critical print size and reading mistakes. The researchers compared the results of both groups of patients and assessed the correlation between VF damage and reading parameters in glaucomatous eyes.

The team found that POAG patients only cover 166.63 ±29.40 words per minute compared with 193.84 ±26.20 words per minute for the controls. They add that these patients also made more mistakes when reading. The researchers note that the critical print size for POAG patients was larger than the one for healthy controls. They conclude that reading parameters were significantly impaired in the worst eye, confirming the impact of VF loss on reading ability.

Rolle T, Dallorto L, Cafasso R, et al. Reading ability in primary open-angle glaucoma. Optom Vis Sci. 2019;96(1):55-61.