Reading skills in children and adults with albinism: The role of visual impairment

John T. MacDonald, Beth R. Kutzbach, Ann M. Holleschau, Suzanne Wyckoff, C. Gail Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate whether visual impairment in albinism contributes significantly to the acquisition of normal reading skills. Methods: The authors administered standardized reading tests to 41 children and 18 adults with albinism. The Young Children's Achievement Test was used for children between 4 and 6 years old and the Woodcock-Johnson III was used for children 7 years and older and adults. Parents of children and adult subjects also completed a questionnaire to document developmental, academic, and/or work experiences. The Spearman test was used to evaluate the relationship between binocular best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and reading test results. Results: Standardized reading tests in both children and adults with albinism showed a normal distribution of scores. BCVA did not appear to play a significant role in the development of normal reading ability in these individuals who were visually impaired except for a mild correlation of decreased reading fluency on the Woodcock-Johnson III with decreased BCVA (r = 0.287, P = .046). Many young children with albinism had superior reading skills despite having a BCVA of 20/200 or worse (legal blindness). Conclusion: This study of cognitively normal children and adults with albinism demonstrates that impaired vision during childhood does not by itself significantly impede a child's ability to acquire normal reading skills. However, the lower reading fluency that occurs in the more visually impaired individuals suggests they would benefit, both in the school system and workplace, with an accommodation involving more time to complete reading tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-188
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012


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