Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 24–32 | Cite as

Evaluation of ocular movements in patients with dyslexia

  • Aldo Vagge
  • Margherita Cavanna
  • Carlo Enrico Traverso
  • Michele Iester


The aims of this study were to analyze the relationship between dyslexia and eye movements and to assess whether this method can be added to the workup of dyslexic patients. The sample was comprised of 11 children with a diagnosis of dyslexia and 11 normal between 8 and 13 years of age. All subjects underwent orthoptic evaluation, ophthalmological examinations, and eye movement analysis, specifically, stability analysis on fixating a still target, tracking saccades, analysis of fixation pauses, speed reading, saccades, and regressions through the reading of a text. Stability analysis on fixating a still target showed a significant (p < 0.001) difference between the two groups showing an increased amount of loss of fixation among dyslexic subjects (5.36 ± 2.5 s and 0.82 ± 2.1, respectively). Tracking saccades (left and right horizontal axis) did not show a significant difference. When reading parameters were looked into (number of saccades, number of regressions, reading time through the reading of a text), a significant (p < 0.001) difference was found between the groups. This study supports the belief that the alteration of eye movement does not depend on oculo-motor dysfunction but is secondary to a defect in the visual processing of linguistic material. Inclusion of assessment of this defect might prove beneficial in determining the presence of dyslexia in young children at a younger age, and an earlier intervention could be initiated.


Dyslexia Eye movements Learning disabilities Reading disability 


Conflict of interest


Financial support

The authors have no financial or proprietary interest in any material or method mentioned.

Informed consent

The study was performed with informed consent.


  1. Cardon, L. R., Smith, S. D., Fulker, D. W., Kimberling, W. J., Pennington, B. F., & DeFries, J. C. (1994). Quantitative trait locus for reading disability on chromosome 6. Science, 266, 276–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Castles, A., Datta, H., Gayan, J., & Olson, R. K. (1999). Varieties of developmental reading disorder: genetic and environmental influences. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 72, 73–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. De Fries, J. C., & Alercon, M. (1996). Genetic of specific reading disability. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 2, 39–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. De Luca, M., Di Pace, E., Judica, A., et al. (1999). Eye movement patterns in linguistic and non-linguistic tasks in developmental surface dyslexia. Neuropsychologia, 37, 1407–1420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Démonet, J. F., Taylor, M. J., & Chaix, Y. (2004). Developmental dyslexia. The Lancet, 363, 1451–1460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eden, G. F., Stein, J. F., Wood, H. M., & Wood, F. B. (1994). Differences in eye movements and reading problems in dyslexic and normal children. Vision Research, 34, 1345–1358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fagerheim, T., Raeymaekers, P., Tonnessen, F. E., et al. (1999). A new gene (DYX3) for dyslexia is located on chromosome 2. Journal of Medical Genetics, 36, 664–669.Google Scholar
  8. Fischer, B., & Hartnegg, K. (2000). Stability of gaze control in dyslexia. Strabismus, 8, 119–122.Google Scholar
  9. Fisher, S. E., Francks, C., Marlow, A. J., et al. (2002). Independent genome-wide scans identifies a chromosome 18 quantitative-trait locus influencing dyslexia. Nature Genetics, 30, 86–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fisher, S. E., Marlow, A. J., Lamb, J., et al. (1999). A quantitative-trait locus on chromosome 6p influences different aspects of developmental dyslexia. American Journal of Human Genetics, 64, 146–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Francks, C., MacPhie, I. L., & Monaco, A. P. (2002). The genetic basis of dyslexia. Lancet Neurology, 1, 483–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Froster, U., Schulte-Korne, G., Hebebrand, J., & Remschmidt, H. (1993). Cosegregation of balanced translocation (1; 2) with retarded speech development and dyslexia. Lancet, 342, 178–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gayan, J., Smith, S. D., Cherny, S. S., et al. (1999). Quantitative-trait locus for specific language and reading deficits on chromosome 6p. American Journal of Human Genetics, 64, 157–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grigorenko, E. L., Wood, F. B., Meyer, M. S., et al. (2001). Linkage studies suggest a possible locus for developmental dyslexia on chromosome 1p. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 105, 120–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grigorenko, E. L., Wood, F. B., Meyer, M. S., et al. (1997). Susceptibility loci for distinct components of developmental dyslexia on chromosomes 6 and 15. American Journal of Human Genetics, 60, 27–39.Google Scholar
  16. Grigorenko, E. L., Wood, F. B., Meyer, M. S., & Pauls, D. L. (2000). Chromosome 6p influences on different dyslexia-related cognitive processes: further confirmation. American Journal of Human Genetics, 66, 715–723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Handler, S. M., & Fierson, W. M. (2011). Learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision. Pediatrics, 127, 818–856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hutzler, F., & Wimmer, H. (2004). Eye movements of dyslexic children when reading in a regular orthography. Brain and Language, 89, 235–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Knopik, V. S., Smith, S. D., Cardon, L., et al. (2002). Differential genetic etiology of reading component processes as a function of IQ. Behavior Genetics, 32, 181–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lyon, G. R., Shaywitz, S. E., & Shaywitz, B. A. (2003). A definition of dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McConkie, G. W., Zola, D., Grimes, J., Kerr, P. W., Bryant, N. R., & Wolff, P. M. (1991). Children’s eye movements during reading. In J. F. Stein (Ed.), Vision and visual dyslexia (pp. 251–270). London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  22. Morris, D. W., Robinson, L., Turic, D., et al. (2000). Family-based association mapping provides evidence for a gene for reading disability on chromosome 15q. Human Molecular Genetics, 9, 843–848.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nopola-Hemmi, J., Myllyluoma, B., Haltia, T., et al. (2001). A dominant gene for developmental dyslexia on chromosome 3. Journal of Medical Genetics, 38, 658–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nothen, M. M., Schulte-Korne, G., Grimm, T., et al. (1999). Genetic linkage analysis with dyslexia: evidence for linkage of spelling disability to chromosome 15. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 8, 56–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ober, J., Hajda, J., Loska, J., & Jamicki, M. (1997). Application of eye movement measuring system OBER 2 to medicine and technology. Proc SPIE 3061, Infrared Technology and Applications XXIII;327.Google Scholar
  26. Olson, R. K., Conners, F. A., & Rack, J. P. (1991). Eye movements in dyslexic and normal readers. In J. F. Stein (Ed.), Vision and visual dyslexia (pp. 243–250). London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. Pavlidis, G. T. (1985). Eye movements in dyslexia: their diagnostic significance. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 18, 42–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pavlidis, G. T. (1991). Diagnostic significance and relationship between dyslexia and erratic eye movements. In J. F. Stein (Ed.), Vision and visual dyslexia (pp. 263–270). CRC Press: Michigan.Google Scholar
  29. Pennington, B. F., Gilger, J. W., Pauls, D., et al. (1991). Evidence for major gene transmission of developmental dyslexia. JAMA, 266, 1527–1534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pennington, B. F. (2006). From single to multiple deficit models of developmental disorders. Cognition, 101(2), 385–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Peterson, R. L., & Pennington, B. F. (2012). Development dyslexia. Lancet, 379, 1997–2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Petryshen, T. L., Kaplan, B. J., Hughes, M. L., Tzenova, J., & Field, L. L. (2002). Supportive evidence for the DYX3 dyslexia susceptibility gene in Canadian families. Journal of Medical Genetics, 39, 125–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Quercia, P., Feiss, L., & Michel, C. (2013). Development dyslexia and vision. Clinical Ophthalmology, 7, 869–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rabin, M., Wen, X. L., Hepburn, M., et al. (1993). Suggestive linkage of developmental dyslexia to chromosome 1p34-p36. Lancet, 342, 178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rayner, K. (1998). Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 372–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ramus, F., Rosen, S., Dakin, S. C., Brian, L. D., Castellote, J. M., White, S., et al. (2003). Theories of developmental dyslexia: insights from a multiple case study of dyslexic adults. Brain, 126, 841–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sartori, G., Job, R., & Tressoldi, P. E. (2007). DDE-2. Batteria per la valutazionedelladislessia e delladisortografiaevolutiva (Battery for the assessment of developmental dyslexia and dysorthographia). Firenze: Giunti OS.Google Scholar
  38. Schulte-Korne, G., Grimm, T., Nothen, M. M., et al. (1998). Evidence for linkage of spelling disability to chromosome 15. American Journal of Human Genetics, 63, 279–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shaywitz, S. E., Shaywitz, B. A., Fletcher, J. M., & Escobar, M. D. (1990). Prevalence of reading disability in boys and girls: results of the Connecticut study. JAMA, 264, 998–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Starr, M. S., & Rayner, K. (2001). Eye movements during reading: some current controversies. Trends in Cognitive Science, 5, 156–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Trauzettel-Klosinski, S., Koitzsch, A. M., Durrwachter, U., et al. (2010). Eye movements in German speaking children with and without dyslexia when reading aloud. Acta Ophthalmologica, 88, 681–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vellutino, F. R., Fletcher, J. M., Snowling, M. J., & Scanlon, D. M. (2004). Specific reading disability (dyslexia): what have we learned in the past four decades? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 4, 2–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wechsler, D. (1991). WISC-III: Wechsler intelligence scale for children. New York: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aldo Vagge
    • 1
  • Margherita Cavanna
    • 1
  • Carlo Enrico Traverso
    • 1
  • Michele Iester
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinica Oculistica, DiNOGMIUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly

Personalised recommendations