The Visagraph Eye Movement System (Visagraph) records and analyzes a student’s eye movements while reading. The analysis provides grade level equivalents for various measurements such as fixations and regressions per 100 words and reading speed in words per minute. The Visagraph provides objective information which typically correlates with a student’s subjective symptoms, such as loss of place when reading, skipping lines and poor reading comprehension. The optometric diagnosis is usually “oculomotor dysfunction.” Recent research by Dr. Barry Tannen and student Noah Tannen evaluated the impact of vision therapy on Visagraph measurements and symptoms in patient’s diagnosed with oculomotor dysfunction.
Forty six children between the ages of 8 and 17 years had Visagraph measurements completed at 2 levels: first, at their independent reading level and then at 2 years below their independent reading level. The hallmark of an oculomotor dysfunction is poor eye movements at both levels. The eye movement dysfunction is evident even when the reading material is “easy” or below grade level. The 46 children received optometric vision therapy (VT), according to their individual needs. Visagraph measurements were obtained post-VT, again at 2 reading levels. All Visagraph measurements at both reading levels showed a significant improvement from pre-VT levels. For example, reading speed improved by more than 50% following VT. The improvements in Visagraph meaurements correlated with a reduction in symptoms that occurred in 93% of the patients.
Eye movements are an important visual skill, so integral to the reading process. Dr. Tannen’s research provides evidence of the impact of VT on eye movements, reading performance and associated symptoms. Take the time to consider whether your child has any symptoms associated with a visual dysfunction.