Objective: To determine if, and at what point, glaucoma affects spoken reading speed.
Methods: Data were collected from the Salisbury Eye Evaluation, a population-based evaluation of visual function and disability in the elderly population. Nonscrolling text was displayed on a screen and the rate words were read aloud was measured. Subjects reading slower than 90 words/min were defined as having impairment. Glaucoma status was determined using optic disc appearance and visual field testing.
Results: One thousand one hundred fifty-four subjects completed evaluations of spoken reading speed and glaucoma status. Univariate analysis demonstrated reading impairment in 16.0% of subjects without glaucoma, 21.1% of subjects with unilateral glaucoma (P = .25), and 28.4% of subjects with bilateral glaucoma (P = .006). Multivariable regression demonstrated nonsignificant increases in the odds of reading impairment for subjects with unilateral (odds ratio, [OR], 1.13; P = .69) and bilateral glaucoma (OR, 1.25; P = .43), though subjects with bilateral glaucoma in the highest quartile of better-eye visual field loss read slower (beta = -32 words/min; P = .01) and were more often reading impaired than controls without glaucoma (OR, 3.8; P = .04). Race, cognitive ability, education, and visual acuity were important predictors of reading impairment.
Conclusions: High rates of spoken reading impairment were found throughout this elderly sample. Glaucoma was associated with slower reading and increased reading impairment with advanced bilateral field loss.