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Alison Hochman, Jasmine Awad, Taravat Gorji, Daniel Larranaga, Stefanie Drew; Eyes Still Off the Prize: Impact of Visual Discomfort in College Population. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):442. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.442.
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Introduction. Visual discomfort is a common condition associated with performing near work tasks such as reading or viewing computer screens. Symptoms can include headaches, eye strain, double vision, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. Two ocular systems contribute to near work performance: the accommodative system, in which the lens of the eye thickens to keep a target in focus, and the vergence system, involving the coordination of the two eyes to keep a target centered on the retina. Disorders of both of these systems have been found to be associated with visual discomfort symptoms. The Conlon Visual Discomfort Survey (VDS) has been found to reliably be associated with accommodative insufficiency while the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey (CISS) has similarly been found to be associated with convergence insufficiency. Given the high degree of near work associated with student success, the prevalence of visual discomfort in the college population is of great interest and relevance. Methods. We administered the VDS and CISS as well as an assessment of Grit, one's ability to persevere and overcome challenges. Survey results were then examined in terms of association with student academic performance and hours dedicated to near work tasks. Results. A large sample of undergraduate students participated in this study. More than 40% of participants fell into the high symptom category for the VDS, and more than 65% of participants fell into the high symptom category for the CISS. Significant correlations were observed between VDS symptom scores, grit, and cumulative GPA. Discussion: These preliminary data suggest a high prevalence of visual discomfort in the university population, with a significant impact on academic performance. Subsequent multiple regression analysis revealed both VDS and CISS significantly account for a portion of the variance in GPA.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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