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Glaucoma impairs reading ability

Glaucoma impairs reading ability

Glaucoma is no laughing matter.

But I had to laugh when I saw this HealthDay News headline: “Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly”

Seriously – someone actually mounted this study at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. What’s more amazing: 1,154 subjects were evaluated.

And even more amazing: Writing in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, the authors note that the test required each subject to read aloud, so the results might be skewed by differences in individual speaking rates.

In other words: Further trials are needed “to explore if reading impairment is more prevalent than reported herein.”

Seems like efforts for further trials might be better spent on unraveling the mysteries behind the cause of this unusual disease for which there are no symptoms before the first vision loss is noted. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, and everyone is at risk. The elderly are at slightly greater risk, but some infants are actually born with the disease.

And while glaucoma can be treated (especially in the early stages), there is no cure, so whatever percentage of vision is initially lost, is lost forever. And you can be certain this will interfere with reading.

You can find more information at the Glaucoma Research Foundation:

“Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly” HealthDay News, 1/12/09,
“Glaucoma and Reading Speed” Archives of Ophthalmology, Vol. 127, No. 1, January 2009,