Characteristics of discrepancies between self-reported visual function and measured reading speed

Susan M. Friedman, Beatrix Munoz, Gary S. Rubin, Sheila K. West, Karen Bandeen-Roche, Linda P. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

PURPOSE. Visual impairment is a risk factor for morbidity in the elderly and is often screened for by self-report. This study evaluates whether there are subsets for whom there is a discrepancy between self-reported and measured function. METHODS. The prevalence of a discrepancy between self- reported difficulty reading a newspaper and measured reading speed was determined in 2520 community-based men and women, aged 65 to 84 years, and the discrepant group characterized by polychotomous regression. RESULTS. Of subjects who reported minimal difficulty reading a newspaper, 10.8% (227/2107) read newsprint-sized text (0.21°) more slowly than 80 words/min, a level previously shown to be necessary for sustained reading. Poor visual acuity, presence of psychiatric symptoms, and less satisfaction with vision were associated with being in the group that read slowly and reported difficulty with reading. Better cognition, better visual acuity, more years of education, white race, and fewer psychiatric symptoms were associated with being in the group that read more quickly and reported minimal difficulty. When reading the text size at which subjects read their fastest, only 2.6% of those with minimal difficulty remained discrepant. These individuals were more likely to have less education, be male, be African American, and have poorer cognitive status than those who did not remain discrepant. CONCLUSIONS. A subset of the elderly population have a substantial discrepancy between self-reported reading difficulty and measured reading speed. In some, this discrepancy may be based on underlying expectations and experiences, and in others it may represent a transition from no visual impairment to visual impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)858-864
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Volume40
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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