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!

 

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.

Best eye test for children on the Sunshine CoastIf 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 kids 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 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 kids 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.

The effectiveness of home vision therapy for the treatment of learning disabilities is often debated by professionals, but as someone who has worked with learning disabilities for over 20 years, I am absolutely convinced of the power that home vision therapy offers to help the frustrated and disillusioned parents of a struggling child!

What Is Home Vision Therapy?

Home Vision Therapy is the term given to a series of vision training exercises that are able to be adequately performed at home by parents.  With careful and complete instruction, many vision exercises can be performed by parents at home, with the big advantage that they can be done every day rather than making a special trip into the behavioral optometrist, orthoptist, occupational therapist or the like.

The power of doing a task every day rather than once or twice a week has been well documented, with the accumulative effect of daily exercises being the major reason for home vision therapy.  The big question is, can the parents do what the professional can?  If the exercises are well thought out and explained, in many cases the answer is, “Yes”!

How Can Home Vision Therapy Help?

Home Vision Therapy is more effective in certain areas of vision training than in others.  Some types of training require a higher level of skill, observation or equipment that the parent simply does not have, and professionals have paid thousands of dollars to obtain the equipment and training necessary to perform these tasks.  Other tasks, however, are a lot easier to incorporate into a home vision therapy program.

The great news is that the types of therapies which are easily performed at home and require equipment most parents have are very often the most effective techniques for improving learning in children struggling to read, write and spell!  It is not easy to incorporate therapies for focus, eye coordination or binocular problems into a home vision therapy program, but visual skills necessary for learning, such as visual memory, sequencing, coding, hand-eye coordination and left-right awareness can easily be performed at home by a parent who has been given concise and detailed instructions.

What is the Most Effective Vision Therapy you can do at Home?

For home vision therapy to be effective it must have certain characteristics.  It must be simple and easily taught to parents.  It must have simple equipment that can be sourced in or around the home at very little expense.  It needs to be clearly and concisely detailed to the parents so that they understand exactly what they need to do, and also what they need to observe in their child as they do the exercises.

Above all, for Home Vision Therapy to be successful it has to be fun for both the children and the adults!  I cannot overemphasize this point because unless there is enjoyment the chances of the program being pursued to the end are very small.  In fact, I have had many parents tell me that the activities in my home vision therapy are not only fun, helpful and extremely powerful, but they have also resulted in quality time being spent by parents with the children!  If you can invest time into something that makes sense and is fun, the compliance from children skyrockets and the effectiveness of the program increases accordingly!

So, if carefully arranged and instructed by a skilled professional, Home Vision Therapy can be extremely helpful in the treatment of learning disabilities and offers the advantage of being able to be used every day for maximum effectiveness.

short sightedness in childrenThere is little doubt that the amount of short sightedness in children is rapidly increasing right across the world and most experts believe that the reason for this is the amount of near and particularly screen based activity children are now doing.

We can see short sightedness rising, but conventional optometry offers little in the way of trying to prevent short sightedness in children.  The basic plan for most optometrists is, “Just wait until you are blurry, and then I will give you glasses for seeing distances.” However, what they don’t tell you is that, if we follow conventional treatment, there is an extremely high chance that the prescription will increase every year as the child grows, and that their dependence on their glasses will also increase.

In essence, we are growing myopic or short sighted kids, and millions of children are destined for full time dependence on glasses or contact lenses, or even laser surgery.

But as a behavioural optometrist, I am passionate about combating short sightedness in our kids, and have discovered some amazing keys to helping this increasing condition.

So What is Short Sightedness?

Short sightedness occurs when the eye length is too long for the optics of the eye, so distant objects appear blurry, but near objects are clear and comfortable.  Traditionally, bookworms, computer geeks and anyone who concentrates for long periods of time may end up short sighted.  What we did not expect is that all of our kids would go shortsighted too!

With the invention of the smart phone, ipod, ipad and hand held games, children are doing more near centred activity in their day than ever before!  Ask any parent and they are likely to relate a story of how their kid can do amazing things on a computer or tablet, and how getting them to stop and go outside and play is a difficult task!

This is common right across the developed world, and while we all love the technology, we are creating a generation of short sighted kids.

How to Stop Short Sightedness in Children

While many mechanisms are responsible for short sightedness, including everything from genetics to diet, I believe that the biggest factor is the amount of near work children now do, and this is one area we can fight back with!

Asking your child to do less reading or screen based work (or games!!!) is probably not going to happen, but protecting their eyes as they do it can definitely happen.  Remember, the aim is to stop the progression of the condition, and taking pressure of kids as they do close work is a great starting point.

In practice, Darin uses reading glasses, bifocals, specialized myopia reducing contact lenses and eye exercises to get the best results, and he has a proven track record of stopping, and sometimes even reducing the short sightedness in kids

At Eye CU Optometrists, we aim to be the most innovative and holistic sunshine coast optometrist, especially in the field of children’s vision, and so Darin is constantly studying and researching better ways to deal with short sightedness in children.

He has just published a book of eye exercises that he uses every day with his patients, and already he is seeing encouraging results in short sightedness reduction and limitation.

So if you are looking for a sunshine coast optometrist who is stopping and even reducing short sightedness in children, we’ll see you at Eye CU Optometrists!

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.

eye test for kidsMany optometrists claim that they can do an eye test for kids, but are they all really the same and do they offer the same level of expertise and service?

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.

And if you live on the Sunshine Coast, we’ll see you at Eye CU for the very best eye test for kids, guaranteed!

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.

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.