Purpose: To determine whether presenting distance visual acuity is related to subsequent academic school performance in Singaporean children between 9 to 10 years of age.
Methods: Singapore children (n = 1143 children) were examined during their visits at ages 9 to 10 years (grades 3 to 4) as part of the Singapore Cohort Study of the Risk Factors for Myopia (SCORM) longitudinal study. Each child underwent an annual comprehensive eye examination, including the assessment of presenting logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (LogMAR) distance visual acuity (VA). The individual marks of a nation-wide standard examination in grade 4 were used as the outcome measure for academic school performance. Children with any known eye disease, (such as media opacities) were excluded from the analysis.
Results: The mean presenting distance VA of the better eye was 0.10 and 0.08 when the children were in grades 3 and 4, respectively. There was a statistically significant difference for mean presenting VA with 9 and 10 year old boys scoring better (0.08 and 0.07) compared to girls (0.12 and 0.09) for the same ages, (p = 0.001 and p = 0.007), respectively. After adjusting for gender, ethnicity, school, reading, intelligence quotient and father's education, no significant relationships were found between average examination marks at the end of grade 4 and presenting VA obtained (better eye and worst eye) in grade 3 (p = 0.38 and p = 0.98) and 4 (p = 0.27 and p = 0.16).
Conclusion: In our sample of Singaporean children without ocular disease, distance VA did not play a significant role in predicting academic school performance.