Aim: To identify the effect of using different coloured bars on reading time for the bar reading task, along with an assessment of subject experience with different colour bars.
Methods: Inclusion criteria were: visual acuity better than 0.5 logMAR, presence of binocular single vision, and ability to understand and perform bar reading. Measurements were taken of visual acuity, near point of convergence, interpupillary distance, Bagolini glasses and prism fusion range. Bar reading was timed and undertaken with and without five coloured bars for N5 and N12 print.
Results: Forty subjects were recruited with a mean age of 38.5 years (SD 12.4). Two were excluded because of poor visual acuity in one eye. There was no significant difference in bar reading task duration with or without the bar in place and for different colour bars. Eleven subjects perceived difficulty with the task, mostly relating to maintaining physiological diplopia appreciation of the bar. White was the most popular bar colour.
Conclusions: Bar reading is a good indicator of binocular single vision and is useful as a home exercise. In our healthy controls no differences were seen when using different colour bars. A repeat of this study in a clinical population of symptomatic strabismic patients is required.