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Children's Vision

With approximately 1 in 5 Australian children suffering from an undetected vision problem, it is important to be aware of the possible signs of a vision problem to give every child the best chance of reaching their full learning potential.

Optometry Australia recommends that children have a full eye examination with an optometrist before starting school and regularly as they progress through primary and secondary school.

Our Optometrist Glen McGlip understands that children often have different eye problems than adults. He has completed a Masters in Behavioural Optometry at the UNSW and a Fellowship in Behavioural Optometry at the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists, the highest qualification attainable.

Allow 30-45 minutes to have your child’s functional vision thoroughly checked. Visual perceptual testing and therapy is available for children who are having learning difficulties.

To make an appointment with our friendly staff today phone 9528 6991.

Learning

Learning is accomplished through complex and inter-related psychological processes, a disorder in one or more of these processes may manifest as a “learning disability”. Vision problems do not cause learning disabilities, but specific vision problems can contribute to learning problems, whether or not a child has been diagnosed as “learning disabled”. In other words, a child struggling in school may have a specific “learning disability”, a “learning-related vision problem”, or both.

A full assessment done by a Behavioural Optometrist will identify vision problems that can affect learning and so we can be of help. We are only treating the visual problems that affect learning and are not treating learning disability. The aim is to evaluate the efficiency of vision, and its effect on learning and other functions. In addition to assessing a child’s eyes, Behavioural Optometrists will frequently assess a child’s visual information processing skills that are an important part of the learning process.

The importance of vision in learning should not be underestimated, experts say that roughly 80 percent of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually. To understand visions role in learning ask yourself, how much learning would happen for a child at school without their vision?

Good vision is essential for students of all ages to reach their full academic potential. If you are concerned that your child may have a learning-related vision problem make an appointment with Glen or Heather today.

Functional Vision

Learning requires efficient visual function. Eye movements, focusing (accommodation) and ocular alignment at different distances (vergence) are visual skills necessary for success in the classroom. These three aspects of visual function, if not working efficiently, can affect a child’s visual information processing and ability to learn. If there is too much effort required for clear and single vision, then concentration and comprehension can suffer.

Eye Movement Disorders

The two types of eye movements we test are pursuits and saccades. Although not required for reading, testing pursuit movements is essential. Any dysfunction of pursuit movements indicates a possible generalized ocular motor deficit. Also because pursuit movements require conscious effort they are an indicator of a child’s ability to maintain attention.

Saccadic eye movements are essential for reading efficiently. When reading the eyes need to make quick simultaneous and accurate movements from letter to letter and word to word, then at the end of the line, move to the start of the next line. Saccades require the brain to efficiently process the images from our central vision with our peripheral vision. The central vision to process the word, and the peripheral vision to tell us where to point the eyes next.

Symptoms of eye movement problems

  • Omission of words during reading.
  • Loses place when reading.
  • Uses finger to maintain place on page.
  • Word order switches.
  • Poor comprehension.

Focusing (accommodating) Disorders

Focusing is the eyes ability to see clearly at different distances. When looking into the distance our eyes tend to focus naturally without any effort. When we want to see clearly up close, a lens in the eye changes its shape to accommodate the light onto the correct part of the retina. This accommodative process requires more effort so our eyes can fatigue much easier when concentrating on near tasks. Children who are long-sighted require even more accommodative effort to see clearly, so they are more likely to develop an accommodative and / or vergence disorder. Accommodative disorders can be either accommodative insufficiency, accommodative excess or both, accommodative infacility.

Symptoms of focusing problems

  • Blurry vision particularly at near.
  • Eyestrain or headaches when reading.
  • Reading avoidance.
  • Close reading distance.
  • Reads for short durations only.
  • Tired eyes.

Ocular Alignment (Vergence) Disorders

To have clear single vision at all distance our eyes need to work together as a pair. If the muscles that control the eyes are properly coordinated then the image from the right eye is fused with the image from the left eye. Fusion of the two images leads to single vision and depth perception. A coordination problem can often present as blur or double vision especially for sustained close tasks. Children with poor ocular alignment may avoid reading, be easily distracted, or have trouble with concentrating and comprehension.

Symptoms of vergence disorders

  • Double vision.
  • Words move on the page.
  • Poor concentration and comprehension.
  • Reading avoidance.
  • Favours or closes one eye.
  • Blurry vision.