The Impact of Diplopia on Reading

Br Ir Orthopt J. 2019 Jan 21;15(1):8-14. doi: 10.22599/bioj.122.


Aim: To compare the effect of induced vertical diplopia (small and large separation) on reading speed and accuracy.

Methods: The Radner Reading Chart (RRC) was used to measure reading speed (correct words per minute (wpm)) and accuracy (percentage). Accuracy was measured using two different methods: 'accuracy-omission' where only the omission of a word reduced the score, and 'accuracy-addition and omission' where any error reduced the score. Three viewing conditions were created using Fresnel prisms on plano glasses: a control condition without diplopia (6 prism dioptres (Δ) base up (BU) over each eye), small separation vertical diplopia (3Δ BU right eye and 3Δ base down (BD) left eye) and large separation vertical diplopia (6Δ BU right eye and 6Δ BD left eye). Viewing conditions were counterbalanced to minimise order effects.

Results: Twenty-four participants were included with a mean age of 20.1 years. The mean reading speed in the control condition was 156.90 wpm. Both diplopic conditions significantly reduced the reading speed compared to the control condition, small separation diplopia to 62.75 wpm (p < 0.001) and large separation diplopia to 105.71 wpm (p < 0.001). The mean reading speed with small separation diplopia was significantly slower than the mean reading speed with large separation diplopia (p < 0.01). Median accuracy scores in the control and the large separation diplopia conditions were 100% using both methods of measuring accuracy. The small separation diplopia condition significantly reduced accuracy to 92.86% (accuracy-omission method) and to 57.50% (accuracy-addition and omission method) compared to the control condition (p < 0.01) and the large separation diplopia condition (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: When vertical diplopia was induced using Fresnel prisms, diplopia of smaller separation resulted in the greatest reduction in reading speed and accuracy, compared to without diplopia and large separation diplopia.

Keywords: Radner Reading Chart; diplopia; reading.