Children’s eye health and safety month
The importance of children’s eye health and safety often gets over-looked. It is, however, of major importance and should not be forgotten. As this month is children’s eye health and safety month, it is important to speak about issues on this topic. According to Optometry Australia, one in five children has an undetected vision problem which could be detrimental for their education as well as their self-esteem. The difference between adults and children is that adults will easily identify a problem where children rarely complain.
Gary Rodney, an Australian Smart Vision Optometrist and fellow of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control at Eyes InDesign Mosman, is passionate about helping children pinpoint their eye issues and ultimately resolve their problems.
There are some symptoms to look out for to know if the child has any vision-related issues. There are a few symptoms that can indicate an issue with your child’s vision. These symptoms include; difficulties learning, lack of concentration, coordination problems, red or sore eyes, nausea, unusual body posture while reading or writing, fatigue, as well as headaches. “Many people are not aware that some learning disabilities in children can be heavily contributed by an undetected or untreated vision problem,” says Rodney.
The reason children with vision issues have problems with learning is because vision plays a big role in the process of learning. “Often it is not until children begin to read that we first notice they might have a vision problem. It is also important for parents to understand that even if a child has excellent eyesight they could still have significant vision skills related learning disabilities,” says Rodney.
Some of the main vision skills needed for early readers include; tracking, which is looking from word to word (scanning); focusing, keeping clear focus on a particular point and the ability to move to another point rapidly; sequencing, recognising the correct order of letters or numbers; short term visual memory, recalling information quickly; and visual discrimination, recognising subtle differences between different letters and words. Even though dyslexia is not mainly caused by vision problems, recent research has shown that there could be a connection between vision issues and dyslexia.
There are many ways to treat or solve these vision issues affecting children. The first step is to have the child undertake a Smart Vision Optometry comprehensive vision skills assessment with a Smart Vision Optometrist who will be able to determine what the issue is. A unique and personalised vision therapy program can then be planned for your child. The purpose of vision therapy is to correct visual motor and visual perceptual-cognitive deficiencies. Vision therapy can help with sequencing skills; using two eyes in tandem; visual skills essential for reading; eye-hand reaction time; and many other issues. Vision therapy normally runs over a period of 16 weeks. During the final stages of vision therapy, the patient’s newly learned visual skills are made stronger and become automatic, due to repetition as well as the integration of motor and cognitive skills.
It is important to make sure that children are not suffering from vision skills problems as it can affect their lives in many ways. Be vigilant, and if you think that they might have a vision-related issue, then book an appointment with a Smart Vision Optometrist today.
Smart Vision Optometry clinics are located in multiple suburbs in Sydney. Book a Smart Vision Comprehensive Vision Skills Assessment or Advanced Eye Health Test for any child or adult by calling the Mosman clinic (02) 9969 1600 or the Bondi clinic (02) 9365 5047, book an appointment online.
Written and syndicated by YDMA News.