A systematic review of the impact of childhood vision impairment on reading and literacy in education

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This systematic review evaluates current literature on the impact vision impairment has on reading and literacy levels within education.

Six databases were searched with inclusion criteria of trials or studies involving children who are blind or vision impaired, and impact on academic or school performance – including reading and literacy. 1262 articles were identified, with 61 papers undergoing full screening. Quality appraisal was performed using Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) and seven articles deemed eligible for inclusion.

Included articles achieved a quality score of over 70 % using the CASP checklists. Direct comparison of articles was not possible due to methodological differences in assessing reading and literacy levels. All seven studies investigated aspects of reading speed, with additional measures of reading performance, such as reading reserve, comprehension, and reading accuracy.

Underlying trends highlighted students with a vision impairment do not perform at same level as their normally sighted peers with respect to reading performance - in terms of speed, but not ability. Additionally, early intervention to enhance literacy skills may help improve educational outcomes. Future direction should be aimed at identifying specific obstacles to learning these students face and providing interventions to improve academic outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100495
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Optometry
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2023


  • Child
  • Vision impairment
  • Blindness
  • Education
  • Literacy
  • Reading


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