Vision and Academic Performance in Primary School Children

  • Vision is considered important for academic performance in children; however, the evidence in this area tends to be inconsistent and inconclusive. This study explored the association between vision function and visual information processing measures and standardised academic achievement scores in Grade 3 Australian children.

  • Participants included 108 Grade 3 primary school children (M = 8.82  0.32 years) from three state primary schools in South-East Queensland. All participants underwent a standard vision screening, including distance visual acuity (VA), binocular vision testing and stereoacuity (SA). A computer-based battery of visual information processing tests including the Development Eye Movement (DEM) test, Visual Sequential Memory (VSM) and Symbol Search (SS) was also administered. Australian National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) scores across five subtests of academic performance were obtained for each child: Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar/Punctuation and Numeracy.

  • The DEM adjusted horizontal and vertical times were most strongly associated with all of the NAPLAN subtest scores (p < 0.01), adjusted for age and the socio-economic status of the school; the DEM ratio was not significantly associated with any of the NAPLAN subtests. VSM and SS scores were significantly associated with one or more NAPLAN subtests, as were worse and better eye VA; SA showed no significant association with any of the NAPLAN subtests.

  • Performance on the horizontal and vertical DEM subtests was most strongly associated with academic performance. These data, in conjunction with other clinical data, can provide useful information to clinicians regarding their prescribing and management philosophy for children with lower levels of uncorrected refractive error and binocular vision anomalies.

Publication date

January 15, 2019


Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics

Sponsor Institution

Ian Potter Foundation


Joanne M Wood , Alex A Black , Shelley Hopkins and Sonia L J White
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