Dry Eyes Linked to Slower Reading Speed


If you have chronic dry eyes, here’s another reason to get the problem evaluated and treated if self-help measures aren’t sufficient: It can slow reading speed and make prolonged reading difficult, according to a recent study in Optometry and Vision Science.

Researchers tested the reading ability of 116 people with significant dry eyes and compared it to that of 70 people without dry eyes or just mild dryness. In a 30-minute reading test, those with significant dry eyes read about 10 percent fewer words per minute, on average, than the comparison group. Such reading impairment could hinder daily tasks requiring prolonged visual concentration, such as working at a computer, the researchers noted.

Dry eyes can have many causes and contributing factors, notably decreased tear production, altered tear composition, and rapid evaporation or drainage of tears.

You may have chronic dry eyes if you have one or more of the following eye symptoms:

  • A persistent dry, irritated, gritty feeling
  • Burning or itching
  • Pain or redness
  • Excessive tearing for short periods
  • Intermittent blurry vision
  • Stringy mucous discharge
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye fatigue
  • Discomfort that affects the ability to perform tasks that require sustained visual attention, such as working on a computer or reading