It’s known that more than 80% of information that children process comes through their eyes, but it’s estimated that one quarter of Australian children have some form of vision problem and only one third of them have had their vision problems detected. This is because many visual problems are subtle and may not be picked up by parents and teachers or even at school vision screenings.
Poor vision can impact on children’s development across all areas – academic, sport and social, and so we strongly endorse the Optometry Association of Australia’s recommendation for all children to undergo their first eye examination prior to starting school, and then at least every two years as they progress through school.
About Your Child’s Eye Exam
At Strachan EyecarePlus we love seeing children!
Our Optometrists are all very experienced in examining children’s eyes, and even the most apprehensive child is bound to come out smiling having fully enjoyed their games of ‘pirates’ and ‘magic glasses’!
During a regular check up we will thoroughly check your child’s ocular health and we will fully evaulate their vision and visual efficiency skills to make sure that they can see clearly and comfortably without undue effort or stress for long periods of time.
Even when there is no significant refractive error (ie. no long or short-sightedness or astigmatism), if focusing skills are immature there can be difficulty in changing focus freely and easily from one distance to another (as in the classroom, when copying from board to book), or there may be difficulty keeping print clear with prolonged reading or other close work.
This can cause symptoms of eye-strain such as sore, tired eyes and headache, and may cause copying errors, as well as adversely affecting concentration and comprehension when reading and writing due to the extra effort involved in trying to keep the print clear.
We will assess your child’s eye teaming skills – if our eyes do not point at exactly the same position in space there can be considerable stress in trying to keep images single and clear. This can cause similar symptoms of eye-strain.
And we will evaluate the two types of eye-tracking skills that are very important for young children – the pursuit or following eye movements that we use when writing or playing ball games, and the saccadic or re-fixational eye movements that we use when reading. Difficulty with saccadic eye movements can cause students to lose place or skip words or lines when reading. This in turn can affect reading speed and fluency as well as comprehension as the “thread of the story” may become lost.
Colour vision will be checked since it is important for primary grade teachers to be alert to a colour vision problem since much educational material is colour coded in the early primary years. Consideration should later be given in relation to career guidance, as certain occupations have a colour vision requirement.
It should be noted that the demands on a child’s eyes increase markedly as they progress through school whilst at the same time their eyes are growing and developing rapidly, and so routine review of these visual efficiency skills is recommended at least every two years for all children.
And if there are any concerns regarding your child’s academic performance, we may recommend a Developmental Visual Perceptual Assessment to investigate your child’s visual information processing skills (please see next page).