A Kid’s Eye Test

A kid’s eye test is considered a necessary part of the preparation for going to school. Most experts agree that, if there is a significant vision problem, this will adversely affect their learning.

However, a kid’s eye test becomes even more important if your child is struggling at school in their learning, especially reading, writing or spelling. I want to reveal to you the types of things that are done in a kid’s eye test, and why not all eye tests are the same…

What’s in a Kid’s Eye Test, and Why Should I see You?

There are many aspects to eye examinations, so not all eye tests target the same things.? It stands to reason that eye tests for children target the aspects of vision that are important for a child, especially when it comes to their learning.? So a standard adult eye test, as good as it is for detecting eye disease and the need for corrective spectacle lenses, does not necessarily apply when it comes to children.

It all starts with being able to relate to the child. Kids tend to be frightened or apprehensive when it comes to a kid eye examination, so relating to them is an essential part of testing.? Given the fact that many people, including my wife, think I have never really grown up, this enables me to relate to and communicate with children.? It also helps to set their fears aside and to establish rapport with them.

I do not know what most Optometrists do differently when they see a child, but I can reveal what I do and the tests that I perform on a child, especially a child with learning problems, ADHD, ASD or dyslexia.? Here’s what I test for…

1. Clear distance (Visual Acuity)

short sightedness in childrenEvery Optometrist should test for a child’s seeing ability.? A child should be able to see distant objects clearly and sharply. This clarity is called visual acuity and is usually measured using the familiar Snellen eye?chart which has letters of steadily decreasing size. Children who cannot read yet are usually tested using shapes, so here at Eye CU, we can test children of almost any age, or children with any disability. ?Problems with eye teaming can cause things like a lazy eye, which will also affect visual acuity, so an kid eye exam is important even before school commences.

2. Change in Focus (Accommodation)

A kid’s eye test must include testing of their focus ability.? Kids focus differently to adults, and many times their ability to focus fatigues during the school day.? The child must be able to do two things efficiently with their focus:? They have to be able to change quickly and effectively from near to distance and back again (such as when they are copying off the board), and they also have to be able to sustain their focus on a near object like a book for a long period of time without tiring (such as when they are doing homework). ?We test both of these in children routinely, and a kid’s eye test mus include this type of testing.

The most common symptoms of a focus or an accommodation vision problem include inconsistent distance or near blur, sore eyes, headaches, losing of place copying off the board and, most common of all, POOR CONCENTRATION FOR READING!

3. Aiming the Eyes (Eye Teaming)

Another important Kid’s eye?Test deals with Eye coordination, which is the ability to team two eyes together, having them fixate (look at) the same point in space with comfort and without double vision.

If the eyes do not point precisely at the same object this can cause headaches, poor concentration, tiredness, confusion or, in severe cases, double vision. This is sometimes called convergence insufficiency, and if present it greatly affects children when they read, causing them to lose their place, misread words or skip lines.

4. Eye Movements (Saccades and Tracking)

kids readingEye movement control is another essential part of a paediatric?eye exam, and it is essential for reading and ball sports, yet most Optometrists never perform this Kid’s Vision Test!

There are two main types of eye movements we look at in an eye exam for children, and both require the eyes to work together as a team. The first type is the quick and accurate movements which are used, for example, when the eyes move from one word to another while reading. These are jumping movements which are called ?saccades?.

The second type of eye movements are known as ?tracking? and these should be smooth and accurate. Tracking movements are used when the eyes follow a moving object such as a ball in flight or vehicles in traffic.

Children who lose their place a lot while reading, mix up words, misread words, skip lines and often have difficulty watching the ball while playing sport. These kids may have poorly developed eye movement skills, and they can be easily helped by the right type of vision therapy.

5. Depth perception

Depth perception is another aspect of a kid’s eye test which is often overlooked. ?It involves?the ability to determine relative distance, recognised by many as the 3D we see in TVs and at the movies. Accurate depth perception is also needed to hit a ball while playing sports, or to park a car accurately (not that many kids are doing that!). Depth perception is easily tested in a kid eye exam at?Eye CU, and my experience is that many children compromise this important skill in an effort to concentrate when they face problems with their focus or eye teaming.

6. Eye-hand Coordination

Another critical part of a?Children’s Vision Test is eye-hand coordination, which involves the eyes directing and controlling the hands.? It is especially important in writing, and also in many sports, especially small ball sports like cricket and tennis.? In younger children it plays an important role in the formation of letters and words on a page, and difficulties with eye-hand coordination are often picked up in Prep or Kindy kids when they struggle to colour in the lines.

7. Visual Memory

child seeingThe skill of visual memory is essential in reading, and especially in spelling.? Poor visual memory skills almost always result in poor spelling, but Darin?s special vision therapy program can help children to learn spelling words quicker and more effectively by training visual memory.

And let’s face it, if a child cannot visualise and remember sight words, how can they read effectively?? This is an area I love to work with, because the results are so tangible yet easy to achieve!

8. Peripheral Vision??

Peripheral or side vision is the ability to see and interpret what is happening to the sides of our vision while looking straight ahead. It is especially important for adults when driving a car and is also is key to playing a lot of sports.

However, you may not realise that it is also an important part of reading and writing for a child, helping them to maintain their place more easily and allowing them to flow as they read.? Try reading through a toilet roll so you can only see a word at a time and you will experience some of what children with learning problems go through.? That’s why a kid’s eye test is so important,. and should go beyond just the ability to see clearly on a page.

9. Spatial Awareness

Spatial awareness is another key developmental skill, and if this is not correctly developed, kids start to write letters and words backward. While many parents are terrified of this symptom thinking it equates absolutely with dyslexia, we have had tremendous success training spatial awareness for stopping kids reversing.

 

A Kid’s Vision Test is Special

I believe that a kid’s vision test should be a special experience.? Relating to children and drawing out the correct answers can give insight into their struggles with learning, and while vision is not the only consideration when it comes to learning problems, it is certainly one of the main areas parents should look at.

One of the huge advantages that the visual system offers us in learning is that it is so easily and safely treated. We can use things like reading glasses and vision therapy which safe, easy to administer and very cheap compared to many of the other areas considered in treating children who struggle in school.

So if your child is struggling to learn to read, write and spell effectively, then a kid’s eye test is a great place to start!

 

The relationship between a behavioural optometrist and dyslexia is an interesting one, and at times a somewhat controversial one too!

Anything to do with dyslexia is one of the most controversial areas of health care and development. None of the experts can agree with each other on what constitutes dyslexia, and the best form of treatment.

However, the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia should have a very close relationship. This is? because in many instances a behavioural optometrist can provide a solution not just for dyslexia itself? It also addresses the many and multifaceted symptoms that are dyslexic child might produce.

So what does a behavioural optometrist do, and how can this possibly relate to the most common of learning problems in our society. Is there any common ground between the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia, and can we offer any solutions?

The Behavioural Optometrist and Dyslexia Treatment

Dyslexia treatment behavioural optometrist have a lot in common. Behavioural optometrist specialise in treating not only the eyes of children, but also the way in which they use their eyes to take information in. The vast majority of learning problems including dyslexia are visually based.? This is because over 80% of all information in the classroom is taken in through the eyes.

So what does a behavioural optometrist do that is different?

All optometrist will examine the eyes of children, but most optometrists, particularly those associated with the big chains, treat children like miniature adults. They do a good job of testing their eyes as far as deciding whether they are long or short sighted. They also can examine the eye health, but they do not go any further than this.

The behavioural optometrist performs all of the duties of a regular optometrist. They also looks at a number of aspects of visual perception and development. They look at how the eyes work together as a team, how they focus together, how much flexibility and stress the visual system is under while they are reading and a whole host of other tests.

They even look at how the brain visualises words for spelling.? Also how children process visual space (which relates to letter and number reversals) and how they actually move their eyes and control their eyes when reading.

What the Behavioural Optometrist Can Do for Dyslexia

It should be pointed out that in most cases the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia treatment does not involve use of coloured lenses, but rather uses spectacle lenses with optical powers to produce the same effect.

While dyslexia and behavioural problems are often reported by clinical psychologists, behavioural optometrist can actually have an effect on dyslexia and behaviour issues by reducing the stress the child is under when reading and studying. This in turn can reduce their frustration and improve their behaviour without undergoing any other treatments. In fact, I have given the appropriate reading lenses to many children and seen a decrease in frustration and an improvement in behaviour patterns within one month.

The frustration felt by the parents of a dyslexic child is often exacerbated by the fact that when they tried to obtain help for their child. Often all they get is a series of diagnoses rather than an actual form of treatment. For the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia children, there is a clear and easy to follow the path towards this treatment, with the appropriate lenses and vision therapy being available almost immediately.

Lenses and Vision Therapy

While lenses can cause a child to concentrate more effectively and for much longer and decrease frustration, they will not solve all of the problems associated with dyslexia. For example, you cannot put glasses on a child and expect them to spell better, or to start writing letters forward rather than in reverse. Any claims along those lines would certainly be bogus!

However, the behavioural optometrist combines lenses to relax the muscles in the eyes and cause the child concentrate more effectively with the appropriate vision therapy.? This vision therapy can train the visual skills that are lacking in the child’s development.? This can help dyslexia and its associated problems can often do this in a matter of months rather than years. The great news is that this does not involve drugs, medication or years of behavioural modification.

It also doesn’t involve coloured lenses that are socially unacceptable! Behavioural optometrist offers a treatment that is socially acceptable, targeted at the specific skills needed for learning and out of the way usually within 6 to 9 months.

This makes a trip to the behavioural optometrist an absolute must for every dyslexic, diagnosed or suspected. In my area, I even bulk bill most patients, meaning that most young dyslexia patients can be seen at no charge to the parents.

This is why after 30 years of practice, I believe that the relationship between behavioural optometrist and dyslexia is a strong one.? It can offer real and long-lasting improvement for children with learning disorders. This should provide peace of mind for parents, and something positive they can do to help their child rather than just getting another diagnosis and another label!

So while there are no specific dyslexia optometrist, the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia have always and continue to have a close relationship.

kids get excessively tiredWhen your kids are starting at school, there is always going to be a degree of tiredness at the end of the day, but what do you do when kids get excessively tired?

Towards the end of a term I tend to get a large number of children in grades prep through three who seem excessively tired at the end of the day of school. I notice that these crop up particularly towards the end of the term, because they have been keeping up the pace from long time.

Frequently I have parents tell me that they think their child is tired because they not drinking enough water, and while that may be so in some cases, my experience is that the most frequent cause of tiredness in young children at school is related to bed eyes and vision.

Poor Focus Can Make Kids Get Excessively Tired

One of the most frequent causes of tiredness in children at school has to do with a focusing system. What many parents do not realise is that you can have a child who was neither long or short sighted, and that seized 20/20 or 6/6 vision, which is considered to be good vision.

In fact many parents have taken their child to an optometrist and been told exactly that? Your child is not longsighted and they have good vision, therefore there eyes are fine.

I see many frustrated parents who are asking the question, “Why is my child so tired at the end of the day?” They have had an eye test and think they have covered all the bases, but most often eye focus and eye teaming have been overlooked.

As a behavioural optometrist, I spend extra time looking at the way the two eyes focus together and how they team together, because these are important in a child’s learning. I run extra tests specifically to examine these areas, and most often these are the culprits when it comes to the times when kids get excessively tired.

If your child is returning from school very tired, if they’re failing to concentrate on their home work, struggling at school or even putting themselves to bed early, then the probability that your child has a vision problem goes beyond mere seeing is very high.

The bottom line is, if you want your child to perform at their maximum potential in school, they need to not be getting excessively tired, especially in the first three or four grades of school.

So if the kids get excessively tired after a day of school, the best thing to do is to get their eyes tested with someone who knows and relates well to children, and who has studied the effects of stressed out focus and eye teaming systems.

You also need to look for a practitioner who not only relates to your child, but can sit and talk to you about what your child is facing, and how it relates to their school performance.

Above all, do not overlook the effect that excessive tiredness can have on your child’s learning and school performance.

The treatment for this type of condition can be a simple as a set of reading glasses or as complex as a programme of vision therapy, but both of these could see your child concentrating better and being less fatigued towards the end of a day at school.

When kids get excessively tired after a day at school, especially when this is increasing towards the end of the term, the best thing to do is to get their eyes properly tested and make sure that there is no focus or eye teaming problem to be dealt with.

Poor Focus and Eye Teaming Can Make Kids Excessively Tried, but we can help!

 

Testing a young childI am often asked if it is possible to do an eye test for kids under 3 years of age. As a behavioural optometrist, I?ve done this many times, but the prospect of examining the eyes of a child under three years of age is daunting for many eye care practitioners.

Problems in Doing an Eye Test for kids under 3

One of the major problems you face when testing a very young child is that they do not know their letters, so establishing how well they can see has to be done differently. While there are different approaches to this, from a tumbling letter E to various forms of picture charts, I have designed a special chart using simple shapes which has proven to be an effective way of judging the singing ability of young children.

The next hurdle for an optometrist in an eye test for kids under 3 is that young children cannot judge differences with the same competency that older children or adults. For this reason it is impossible to do a standard test on a young child, asking them, ?Which is better, number one or number two??

While modern technology has provided instruments like auto-refractors which can provide an estimate of a child?s prescription, most behavioural optometrist like myself prefer to use an old, hands-on method which gives us a unique opportunity to look at the focusing ability while we estimate prescription. This instrument is called a retinoscope, and while most optometrist know about it very few are able to use it effectively because they have very little practice! After seeing thousands of children almost daily for the last 20 years, I have definitely had my fair share of practice on this specialised instrument!

The third problem in doing an eye test for young kids 3 and under is the treatment becomes much more difficult. If glasses are required, we will often require specialised frames and lenses to do the job properly. My team and spend a lot of time researching and obtaining these specialised frames and lenses at inexpensive price for our patients.

I also have available and extensive array of vision therapy, which can be adapted for very young children and can help to overcome vision problems before they have a serious effect on learning. While this may be an easy thing for me to apply for even young children, it is because of years of experience and expertise but I?m able to do this. Conventional optometry can offer little for young children other than a pair of glasses, which commonly fits badly and is often easily broken.

If your child has never had an eye test or if you are concerned that they are delayed in their learning or other growth milestones, then it is possible to get an eye test for kids under 3 if you take your child to a behavioural optometrist who has specialised in taking care of children?s vision for decades.

eye test for kids under 3I am often asked if it is possible to do an eye test for kids under 3 years of age. As a behavioural optometrist, I?ve done this many times, but the prospect of examining the eyes of a child under three years of age is daunting for many eye care practitioners.

 

Problems in Doing an Eye Test for kids under 3

 

One of the major problems you face when testing a very young child is that they do not know their letters, so establishing how well they can see has to be done differently. While there are different approaches to this, from a tumbling letter E to various forms of picture charts, I have designed a special chart using simple shapes which has proven to be an effective way of judging the singing ability of young children.

 

The next hurdle for an optometrist in an eye test for kids under 3 is that young children cannot judge differences with the same competency that older children or adults. For this reason it is impossible to do a standard test on a young child, asking them, ?Which is better, number one or number two??

 

While modern technology has provided instruments like autorefractors which can provide an estimate of a child?s prescription, most behavioural optometrist like myself prefer to use an old, hands-on method which gives us a unique opportunity to look at the focusing ability while we estimate prescription. This instrument is called a retinoscope, and while most optometrist know about it very few are able to use it effectively because they have very little practice! After seeing thousands of children almost daily for the last 20 years, I have definitely had my fair share of practice on this specialised instrument!

 

The third problem in doing an eye test for kids under 3 is the treatment becomes much more difficult. If glasses are required, we will often require specialised frames and lenses to do the job properly. My team and spend a lot of time researching and obtaining these specialised frames and lenses at inexpensive price for our patients.

 

I also have available and extensive array of vision therapy, which can be adapted for very young children and can help to overcome vision problems before they have a serious effect on learning. While this may be an easy thing for me to apply for even young children, it is because of years of experience and expertise but I?m able to do this. Conventional optometry can offer little for young children other than a pair of glasses, which commonly fits badly and is often easily broken.

 

If your child has never had an eye test or if you are concerned that they are delayed in their learning or other growth milestones, then it is possible to get an eye test for kids under 3 if you take your child to a behavioural optometrist who has specialised in taking care of children?s vision for decades.

behavioural optometryYou may be wondering what behavioural optometry is and what it can offer you as a parent for your child.

Behavioural Optometry is a mode of practice which seeks to go beyond the simple ability to see, helping patients to understand and interpret information in a holistic way.?? It is sometimes called developmental optometry because of its association with children and developing vision.

Behavioural Optometry was once viewed by traditional Optometry as being somewhere between reading tea leaves and reading palms!? When I started behavioural practice 25 years ago, I felt like my fellow Optometrists saw me as weird and strange, but much has changed since then.

The Rise of Behavioural Optometry

Now traditional Optometrists from across my area send me the children they do not understand or feel they cannot help!? In my area of the Sunshine Coast Behavioural Optometry is being embraced by traditional practitioners and recognized for what it is, a specific specialty or discipline within our profession which can provide real answers to children struggling at school.

Scientific studies are now finding results which support this powerful mode of Optometry, further enhancing its credibility within the profession.

Yet it does not stop there!? As a Behavioural Optometrist, I can now supply answers for many patients and many conditions, notably the efforts we are pursuing to stop the progression of short sightedness or myopia.? This means that we don’t have to sit by and watch our children’s prescriptions get stronger and their lenses thicker through the years!? Sometimes we can even reverse it, and the principles we build such treatment on are based upon longstanding Behavioural Optometry premises.

Another area which works well is in the treatment of turned eyes and lazy eyes, where traditional Optometry holds very few answers and a lot of frustration.? Helping the eyes to begin functioning together effectively is part of what we can now do as Behavioural Practitioners.

However, the real power and attraction of this discipline is in the area of learning disabilities, where we can not only increase concentration and

So now is the time when this branch of the profession is coming into it’s own!

There is a valid and powerful tool that can be used to help children with learning disabilities, turned eyes, lazy eyes and increasing short sightedness, and this tool is called Behavioural Optometry!

behavioural optometrist childrenI feel that as a behavioural optometrist children relate well to me. It is one thing to have studied in Optometry School or university, but it is still another to be able to relate to children when you test their eyes and prescribe treatments.

As a behavioural optometrist children need to relate to you properly in order to do an accurate eye test. While many optometrists have difficulty relating to kids, if you want to specialise in this area you need to have patience, tenacity and a good sense of humour!

This is what children need when they face and eye test, and as a behavioural optometrist I?ve had years of experience dealing with and relating to children of all ages. This is especially true when it comes to learning difficulties, because these kids are used to failure and not doing well, and are often very timid and threatened by an adult that they have not met before.

 

Steps to Becoming a Behavioural Optometrist Children Can relate to?

I did not start life as an optometrist who easily related to children. For many optometrists, eye examinations revolve around numbers and figures, but as you grow older and gain experience it becomes much easier to relate those figures to real-world events and how someone is using their eyes in their job or when studying.

Having an interest in the way vision impacted a child?s learning abilities led me into behavioural optometry, and through years of experience I have learned to relate really well not only to my own children but also to the kids I see in my practice.

When you bring your child to me for a comprehensive visual examination, you will see the following steps as I relate to them and their world?

 

  1. I will talk with them directly, asking their questions and opinions, rather than only talking to the adult.
  2. I will crack jokes and have fun with the child, especially if they are very young.
  3. I will use movie clips as part of the eye testing procedures.
  4. I will use specialised tests to find out exactly what is happening when they try to read, write or spell.
  5. I will clearly outline the results and what I think needs to be done, speaking to the child as well is to mum or dad, and my comments will be able to be related directly to how the child behaves, especially around homework and reading. I will also outline what can be done, and give them the opportunity to make decisions.

Being a behavioural optometrist children relate to and are comfortable around is a key component of examining how they are using their vision when it comes to learning. This is not something becomes automatically if you hold a degree or it had a certain sort of training. In actual fact, it is really only something those who are passionate about helping kids develop, and I believe that I am one of those guys.

So if you live on the Sunshine Coast and are looking for a behavioural optometrist children can relate to, come and see us for yourself and discover the Eye CU difference!

eye test for childrenIf you have a child you may be looking for the best eye test for children in your area.? Before we consider this, we need to recognize that children are not miniature adults, but rather need to be tested with the right instruments in a way that is designed exclusively for their eyes, while it centers on how they use their eyes in the classroom.

Most Sunshine Coast optometrists are great at testing adults and looking for ocular disease, but an eye test for children is a completely different situation.? Kids don?t always process visual information the same as adults and their method of dealing with the pressure and stress on their vision is completely different, especially when we consider how much time they currently focus on near tasks like computers, tablets and smart phones!

The right eye test for children must include the standard tests like measuring their prescription (whether they are farsighted, nearsighted or have astigmatism) and their ocular health, but any eye test for children cannot stop there!

It is vitally important that children see a behavioural optometrist, and make sure that things like the focus, how the eyes team together, how they move across a page, convergence and 3-D perception are measured.? If the child has learning difficulties such as dyslexia, further tests can be done dealing with how the child takes in and processes the information they obtain via vision.? This includes visualization, direction skills, coding and sequencing.

This is why a behavioural optometrist like myself does more in an eye test for children than any other optometrist, and why I use not only special lenses, frames and glasses but also offer exclusive, specialized exercises called vision therapy to help them, which centers on learning.

So on the Sunshine Coast or anywhere else, the best eye test for children may not necessarily be the nearest!? My patients travel from far and wide to have their vision exam, because they know that I will work hard to offer them ways to treat their presenting problems, while helping them save money on the frames and glasses we offer. This is especially true for learning disabilities where I use special techniques that centers a child?s specific vision needs when learning, and also in myopia or short sightedness treatment, where keeping children out of full time glasses is a priority.

So if you care for your child, don?t just get a regular vision exam or check up!

Visit a family behavioural optometrist and get the best eye test for children in your area.