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The visual skills of the adult reading disabled

1 May 1988


Almost a third of this nation's adult population is estimated to be functionally illiterate. The cost to this nation is enormous. In economic terms, billions of dollars are spent to address merely the symptoms of adult illiteracy. The cost to this nation in the loss of contributions to the advancement of society and the loss of human dignity is incalculable. Despite the magnitude and importance of this problem, there are no published reports on the visual skills of this very large population. We performed vision screening on 15 adults who were enrolled in a rehabilitative reading program. We discovered that a significant percentage of these people exhibited uncorrected refractive error, presbyopia, eye movement dysfunction, and accommodative and vergence anomalies sufficient to impede the attainment of reading proficiency in 80% of the adults surveyed.


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