And I test the kids is not the same as an examination for an adult, because for a children’s exam we need to look beyond simply whether a child can see into how they function in their school environment, and how they take in visual information, process it, and go about their learning task.
As a behavioural optometrist, I have spent years developing what I believe is the right protocol for examining children, especially children with learning disabilities. I use specialised equipment and spent a lot of time testing the balance of a child’s vision not on a chart 6 m away, but rather up close, where they do the majority of their learning.
Most importantly, kids require not only special testing but also specialized ways to treat the problems they have, especially when it comes to learning difficulties. Glasses may be useful, and we have special frames and the latest lenses for children, but you cannot put reading glasses on a child and expect them to spell better, for example.
This is why, in addition to the best and most comprehensive eye test for kids in my area, I have at my disposal a specialised type of therapy called vision therapy. This is a program that I’ve designed myself, specifically to target the visual skills children use when they are learning to read, write and spell.
As we learn, we develop the skills we need to do the job. Skills like well-controlled eye movements, well-balanced focus and the teaming of the eyes, sequencing, coding, visualisation and directional concepts, need to be developed as we grow and learn.
These are areas that regular optometrists fail to examine, and this is where a behavioural optometrist offers an eye test for kids but is far more comprehensive, and has the power to incredibly impact a child’s learning ability.
So if your child is struggling with learning, or if not concentrating on their school work, then having a comprehensive vision examination by a behavioural optometrist should be a priority. A standard eye examination is not going to reveal the kind of visual problems that 80% of children with learning disabilities exhibit.
So if you really care for your child, don’t just have a regular eye examinations and think that everything is okay. Take your child for a comprehensive vision assessment with a behavioural optometrist and make sure that vision is not holding them back in their learning.