Researchers recently evaluated the association between visual information processing and academic performance in school children and found that visual-motor integration (VMI)—the ability to reproduce in writing what is seen, such as copying down text from a blackboard—was most strongly associated with reading and math scores.

The team assessed VMI, developmental eye movement (DEM), standardized reading and math tests, visual acuity and stereoacuity in 222 second graders.

After adjusting for socioeconomic background and age, the study authors discovered that VMI and DEM—not visual acuity and stereoacuity—were most strongly associated with the reading and mathematics test scores. They note that linear regression models explained 28.6% of variance in the reading scores and 24.1% in math scores. In particular, the study found VMI was most strongly associated with below-average academic test scores, they add.

A child’s performance in school should be an important factor in an optometric assessment, the researchers said in the study. Thus, clinical tests identifying children at risk of falling short academically can provide important information for patient management, they concluded.

Hopkins S, Black AA, White SLJ, et al. Visual information processing skills are associated with academic performance in grade 2 school children. Acta Ophthalmologica. June 22, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].