It is estimated that 80% of children’s early development is learned visually, and research has shown that one in five children have an undetected eye problem. Children’s eye care is so important and often overlooked. It is never too early to have a sight test – even if a child is too young to talk or read a letter chart, at Duffy Optometrists we have equipment specifically designed to test children, including computerised test charts which can be changed to pictures instead of letters. Even babies can have their eyes tested.
The NHS will fund sight tests for children under 16, and under 19 when they are in full-time education, so you won’t have to pay to have their eyes tested. The NHS will also contribute towards glasses if they are required. It is recommended that the standard interval between sight tests for children is one year, but your Optometrist may recommend more frequent tests if required.
We have frames designed to withstand the rough-and-tumble lifestyle of a toddler, and even frames safe for babies to wear. Our Dispensing Optician Rebekah Brierley at our Wollaton practice has a special interest and years of experience in dispensing glasses to children under five, and is able to provide the most suitable frames. Located near to the Queens Medical Centre, she has many parents bringing in their children’s prescriptions from the hospital for her expert advice.
Typical warning signs to look out for:
- One eye turns in, out, up or down
- Complaints of frequent headaches
- Frequently rubs eyes or blinks a lot
- Screws up eyes when reading or watching television
- Avoids reading, writing or drawing
- Has difficulty catching a ball
- Fails to make expected progress at school
- Develops behavioral or concentration problems at school
Children’s Development Profiles
Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Global Developmental Delay Syndrome, Premature Baby, Autism (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD, ADD, Sensory Disorders, Glu Ear, Convergence Insufficiency, Retention of Primitive Reflexes, Accommodation(focus) Dysfunction, Binocular Vision Problems, Eye Tracking problems, Pattern Glare or Meares Irlen Syndrome.
Above are words with which many Parents, Special Needs Teachers and Tutors are familiar with, and which have a great impact on the ability of children to learn, in a rapidly advancing information world. The content of what is being learned, and the various ways in which it is delivered, is becoming more and more taxing on the brain and visual systems of children, and in many cases, adults also. Optometrists or Opticians perform a vital role in performing eye tests and in depth visual assessments in order to ease the burden with these children’s development profiles.
The profiles listed above (and many more) are involved with learning disabilities either individually or in combination.
Occupational Therapists, Nutritional Therapists and Vision Care Specialists can play an important role in getting the best development in children.
Gross Motor Skills (physical movements), Fine Motor Skills (eye movements during higher processing order), are all connected to a child’s visual skills, eye tracking, focus, convergence and working memory, as these are all important aspects of investigation. Perceptional analysis tests are generally performed by Educational Psychologists. Children also need to have developed proper Proprioceptive Skills (proprioception), which relates to their awareness in space.
Visual Spatial Awareness and Visual Spatial Integration are part of the early learning skills, which children require to make the transition into the later stages of more sophisticated learning. Along with this, comes Sensory Integration and therefore normal physical development is a key factor.
Other important factors are the setup of the learning environment especially in the classrooms and other learning institutions.
Sport (at any level) is a fantastic way for children to develop stronger muscles to give good body posture and support for all the integration skills required in learning.
Vision & Learning
At Duffy Optometrists we also offer specialist Vision & Learning Assessments, to test for specific visual problems which may interfere with ones learning processes. More information can be found under ‘Colorimetry and Visual Stress’.