We help children see and learn better. Children need clear vision and good eye coordination to be able to concentrate and learn effectively whether they’re in the classroom or on the field. At Eyeman Optometrists we know how to help with vision training exercises, glasses, contact lenses and other therapies. As with all of our treatments, we tailor them to each individual.
Even in the special cases. Did you know visual problems are associated with many other difficulties that children can experience. We often help improve the vision of children with learning difficulties, ADHD, Down Syndrome and ASD. These children can have associated vision problems such as refractive errors and commonly found binocular disorder known as Convergence Insufficiency. Fixing these eye problems won’t fix your child’s diagnosis, but it does help by removing just one obstacle that your child needn’t deal with. We know kids and we know optometry, and we know that at times it takes patience and understanding to help your child achieve their full potential, so at Eyeman there’s no pressure, just the understanding that we’ll work together.
It’s time to drop by. Especially if you notice your child experiencing any of the following: blurred vision, headaches, squinting, poor concentration, poor hand-eye coordination, or being slow to copy down words from the board. Even if you’re not in the area, feel free to contact us by phone, email or skype. Quite often a quick chat will help you decide the next step for your child. Don’t worry, there’s no charge for this service, because we believe your child’s vision comes first, and we’re happy that you trust us to help you.
Examining Your Child
Here comes the serious part – and while it is serious, we like to ensure your child has an enjoyable time when examined. The testing is designed in a game-based manner and ensures honest answers and a relaxed environment. It is important that you alert us to any concerns you may have about your child’s vision such as when you notice things, or if there is a specific date or event after which you started to be aware of issues. Also relevent family ocular and medical history (of immediate family) can be beneficial in helping us find an answer to your child’s possible vision or ocular problems.
Reading and Learning Difficulties: With more than 20 years experience of examining children with learning difficulties it is unlikely your child has a problem that we haven’t seen before, and more often than not we find a spectacle correction isn’t the answer. We are not saying that spectacles can’t help, just that with learning difficulties the there are often other issues that need addressing.
What do we do differently?
At Eyeman we don’t believe that a small glasses or spectacle correction helps children to read – to us it just doesn’t make any sense and during thirty years of private practice there has never been any concrete evidence in any scientific journal to prove otherwise. In fact giving a child reading glasses – often referred to by some Optometrists as “learning” or “training” glasses can do more harm than good.
So we dig a little deeper and look at eye muscle coordination, do reading tests and judge the child’s ability in consultation with the parents. These tests are designed to uncover issues that correlate directly to performance and more often than not the problem can be fixed using vision training exercises as the problem is directly related to the eye’s outside muscles and how they work (or don’t work) together.
Sometimes we need to accept that a child is simply in need of maturing a bit more – which means that even though there may be reading or concentration issues that SEEM eye-related, our testing indicates that your child will simply get better as he or she matures.
Specific Reading Tests Performed:
- Wilkins Rate of Reading – is a test that assesses reading speed and skill using simple words familiar to children. This test may be performed on its own or with Red and Green filters to determine binocular rivalry or monocular suppression.
- Kind Devick Tests – The King Devick Test is performed to confirm or rule out eye movement disorders that can impact reading. It uses numbers instead of words to remove phonics as an obstacle to reading assessment.
A Brief Introduction to Some Common Childhood Problems
Amblyopia (Lazy eye): Commonly caused by strabismus (when one eye is turned), anismoteropia (when you have different vision in each eye), or blockage of an eye due to a cataract or a lid droop. The brain does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye and typically this can still affect the vision received from the “good eye”. This conditon is typically experienced by young children and they do not report symptoms as their good eye often does enough to get them by. Sometimes it is detected too late resulting in uncorrectable reduced vision which may to poor spatial acuity, low sensitivity to contrast or reduced sensitivity to motion. This is why having your children’s eyes examined at a young age by an optometrist skilled in dealing with children is important.
Strabismus: Is when both eyes cannot align simultaneously under normal conditions, leading to one eye “turning” and hence the term “turned eye”. One or both of the eyes may turn in, out, up or down either constantly or intermittently. We can offer therapies to help improve the turning — and if you are a parent and have noticed strabismus in your child, we recommend examination as early as possible, preferably before the age of two. There is often a strong family history with strabismus, so if there is someone else in the family with a “turned eye” and you are suspicious make the call for an appointment.
Myopia (short-sightedness): A vision condition in which near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects are not brought into proper focus. Children who are short-sighted have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly, and you will notice that your child “squints” his or her eyes to see something clearly, or they may even just choose to sit closer to the TV or board. Kids can experience eyestrain, or headaches, but more typically it is blurred vision.
Hyperopia (long-sightedness): A vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but for close work extra focussing is required for objects to be brought into proper focus. Typically kids experience eyestrain, headaches, poor concentration, and even double vision.