Recent studies report a link between optometric results, learning disabilities, and problems in reading. This study examines the correlations between optometric tests of binocular vision, namely, of vergence and accommodation, reading speed, and cognitive executive functions as measured by the Stroop test.
Fifty-one students (mean age, 20.43 ± 1.25 years) were given a complete eye examination. They then performed the reading test L’Alouette and the Stroop interference test at their usual reading distance. Criteria for selection were the absence of significant refractive uncorrected error, strabismus, amblyopia, color vision defects, and other neurologic findings.
The results show a correlation between positive fusional vergences (PFVs) at near distance and the interference effect (IE) in the Stroop test: the higher the PFV value is, the less the IE. Furthermore, the subgroup of 11 students presenting convergence insufficiency, according to Scheiman and Wick criteria (2002), showed a significantly higher IE during the Stroop test than the other students (N = 18) who had normal binocular vision without symptoms at near. Importantly, there is no correlation between reading speed and PFV either for the entire sample or for the subgroups.
These results suggest for the first time a link between convergence capacity and the interference score in the Stroop test. Such a link is attributable to the fact that vergence control and cognitive functions mobilize the same cortical areas, for example, parietofrontal areas. The results are in favor of our hypothesis that vergence is a vector of attentional and cognitive functions.