The distinctive vertical heterophoria of dyslexics.

TitleThe distinctive vertical heterophoria of dyslexics.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsQuercia, P, Quercia, M, Feiss, LJ, Allaert, F
JournalClin Ophthalmol
Date Published2015

In this study, we looked for the presence of vertical heterophoria (VH) in 42 dyslexic children (22 males and 20 females) aged 118.5±12.9 months who were compared with a control group of 22 nondyslexic children (eleven males and eleven females) aged 112±9.8 months. Dyslexics presented a low-level (always <1 prism diopter) VH combined with torsion. This oculomotor feature clearly separates the dyslexic group from the normal readers group. It is independent of the type of dyslexia. The essential feature of this VH is a lability that appears during specific stimulation of sensory receptors involved in postural regulation. This lability is demonstrated using a vertical Maddox test conducted under very specific conditions in which postural sensors are successively stimulated in a predetermined order. A quantitative variation in this VH may be seen during the Bielchowsky Head Tilt Test, which reveals hypertonia of the lower or upper oblique muscles. Vertical orthophoria can be achieved by placing low-power prisms asymmetrically within the direction of action of the superior or inferior oblique muscles. The selection of power and axis is not only guided by elements of the eye examination but also from observation of postural muscle tone. All these elements suggest that the VH could be of postural origin and somehow related to the vertical action of the oblique muscles. VH and torsion are not harmful per se. There is no statistical relationship between their level and the various parameters used to assess the reading skills of dyslexic children. VH and torsion could be a clinical marker of global proprioceptive dysfunction responsible for high-level multisensory disturbances secondary to poor spatial localization of visual and auditory information. This dysfunction might also explain the motor disorders concomitant to dyslexia.

Alternate JournalClin Ophthalmol
PubMed ID26445526
PubMed Central IDPMC4590632