Children's
Eyecare

& Schoolvision

Your child's eyes are special

Good vision is essential to learning. Poor eyesight can significantly impact on a child’s ability to learn and also on their behaviour. Although children are screened at school at the age of 4 or 5, problems can still develop between the school screening and the critical age of 8 where there is no follow up in the school system.

Early detection of issues is key

Often Children may not be aware that there is an issue with their vision or may not be able to explain their vision difficulties. 

Results can last a lifetime

If your child has a vision problem the key to preventing long term issues is early detection. An experienced Optometrist is best placed to inform you of your child’s vision development and eye health. If vision problems are identified and treated, it can make a difference that lasts a lifetime.

Children's Eye Exams

Children’s eye exams are different to adults and may require more than 1 visit. We may also need to use special drops to help determine if there is an issue.We welcome children of all ages. Children up to the age of 12 maybe entitled to have their eyes tested under the HSE clinics and we welcome prescriptions form local health centres. As the wait time in the HSE can be quite long we also welcome children to be examined at the practice.

Signs that your child may have a problem with their vision

  1. Complaining of not being able to see the board/Tv
  2. The eye turning in or out
  3. Holding things close to their face
  4. Headaches
  5. Eye rubbing/blinking
  6. Difficulty in maintaining focus while reading

School vision

Richard specialises in School vision. School vision is a branch of Optometry which studies the relationship between visual performance and reading. This branch of Optometry is particularly helpful for young patients with Visual stress including Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, DCD and ADHD. The theory behind School vision is outlined below:

Visual Skills

The predominant visual skill in reading is aiming. Since the reading distance is generally fixed, aiming is carried out by the ‘Dominant Eye’. Without stable dominance attention will continually swap from one eye to the other. At the moment of swapping, letters will seem to shift position, causing you to lose your place in a sentence. School vision seeks to stabilise the dominant eye through the use of spectacles. 

When your child reads, their eyes are busy aiming at the words. The aiming should be handled by one dominant eye. If neither eye is obviously dominant then both will try to share the task and your child’s attention will swap from one eye to the other. When this happens the letters on a page appear to move, in this case you may see your child following the sentence with their finger.

Richard has had great success with spectacles in these cases. For a school vision appointment please call our Knocknacarra branch.

Corrective Spectacles

School Vision is the study of the relationship between visual performance and the occupation of reading. The predominant visual skill in reading is aiming since the reading distance is generally fixed, the same as sport, aiming is carried out the best by the dominant eye. Without stable eye dominance attention will continually swap from one eye to the other. At the moment of a swapping letter or word will shift position in space. You can demonstrate this by aiming at a distant object with your finger. When you close one eye everything remains stable when you close the other eye either your finger or the object will appear to move. When this happens unintentionally while reading you loose your place in the sentence or paragraph and individual words become difficult to learn to spell because the letters wont stay in the right order. Put simply Schoolvision seeks to stabilise the dominant eye with corrective spectacles. The effect is usually measured by an instant increase in the rate of character recognition (the speed at which a random selection of 60 letters can be read at high and low contrast).

Reading Skills

The comparative rate of reading speed test (CRST) also measures the relative effect of serif and non-serif characters on different types of visual deficiency.

It appears by applying established eye testing techniques specifically at the reading distance we can cause a positive effect on the rate of character recognition; people, most importantly children, read faster and more accurately.

The principles of schoolvision are simple but the effect is profound. In research we found that 60% of the children in a deprived area of Wolverhampton had the predisposing signs of dyslexia.

It is quite likely that dyslexia is part of the normal human condition and the reason it has become such a concern to society is the increasing demand of technology and the dependence on reading skills. All this has happened in very recent times and as a hunter-gatherer species we may simply not have evolved to cope with all this activity 30 centimetres from our nose.

Eye Dominance

The breakthrough in the understanding of eye dominance and dominance type (Type 1 right eye dominant, right hand and foot also dominant. Type 2 anyone with a tendency to left dominance in eye hand or foot) came from research in two sports, tennis and clay pigeon shooting; this lead to the proposition of the two primary occupational visual skills of aiming and anticipation. The way in which visual correction or lack of it affects athletes depends on whether they are Type 1 or 2. A three-year study at Moreton School in Wolverhampton followed where these principles were applied to reading in about 200 year 7 children.

When your child reads, their eyes are busy aiming at the words. This aiming job should be handled by one dominant eye. If neither eye is obviously dominant then both will try to share the task and your child’s attention will swap from one eye to the other.

Read Faster & More Accurately

When this happens the letters on a page appear to shift, (aim at something with your finger, shut and open each eye in turn-you’ll see the effect). Your child might find that they loose their place and words become difficult to spell as letters wont stay in the right order.

By using established sight tests Schoolvision seeks to stabilise your child’s dominant eye with corrective spectacles. The effect is that your child should be able to read faster and more accurately.