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Visual demands in modern Australian primary school classrooms

Narayanasamy, Sumithira, Vincent, Stephen J., Sampson, Geoff P. and Wood, Joanne M. 2016, Visual demands in modern Australian primary school classrooms, Clinical and experimental optometry, vol. 99, no. 3, pp. 233-240, doi: 10.1111/cxo.12365.

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Title Visual demands in modern Australian primary school classrooms
Author(s) Narayanasamy, Sumithira
Vincent, Stephen J.
Sampson, Geoff P.ORCID iD for Sampson, Geoff P. orcid.org/0000-0003-0145-5691
Wood, Joanne M.
Journal name Clinical and experimental optometry
Volume number 99
Issue number 3
Start page 233
End page 240
Total pages 8
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication Milton, Qld.
Publication date 2016-05
ISSN 1444-0938
Keyword(s) children's vision
learning
vision
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Ophthalmology
CHILDREN
REQUIREMENTS
SAMPLE
Summary BACKGROUND: The visual demands of modern classrooms are poorly understood yet are relevant in determining the levels of visual function required to perform optimally within this environment. METHODS: Thirty-three Year 5 and 6 classrooms from eight south-east Queensland schools were included. Classroom activities undertaken during a full school day (9 am to 3 pm) were observed and a range of measurements recorded, including classroom environment (physical dimensions, illumination levels), text size and contrast of learning materials, habitual working distances (distance and estimated for near) and time spent performing various classroom tasks. These measures were used to calculate demand-related minimum criteria for distance and near visual acuity, contrast and sustained use of accommodation and vergence. RESULTS: The visual acuity demands for distance and near were 0.33 ± 0.13 and 0.72 ± 0.09 logMAR, respectively (using habitual viewing distances and smallest target sizes) or 0.33 ± 0.09 logMAR assuming a 2.5 times acuity reserve for sustained near tasks. The mean contrast levels of learning materials at distance and near were greater than 70 per cent. Near tasks (47 per cent) dominated the academic tasks performed in the classroom followed by distance (29 per cent), distance to near (15 per cent) and computer-based (nine per cent). On average, children engaged in continuous near fixation for 23 ± 5 minutes at a time and during distance-near tasks performed fixation changes 10 ± 1 times per minute. The mean estimated habitual near working distance was 23 ± 1 cm (4.38 ± 0.24 D accommodative demand) and the vergence demand was 0.86 ± 0.07(Δ) at distance and 21.94 ± 1.09(Δ) at near assuming an average pupillary distance of 56 mm. CONCLUSIONS: Relatively high levels of visual acuity, contrast demand and sustained accommodative-convergence responses are required to meet the requirements of modern classroom environments. These findings provide an evidence base to inform prescribing guidelines and develop paediatric vision screening protocols and referral criteria.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/cxo.12365
Field of Research 111399 Ophthalmology and Optometry not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Optometry Australia
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30082199

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Medicine
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Created: Tue, 15 Mar 2016, 10:03:30 EST

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