Eye Care Services For Patients With Learning Difficulties
Here at Fiona Watt Optometrists, we provide exceptional eye care services for patients with learning difficulties. Good vision is imperative to childhood development and regular eye examinations are essential to maintaining good healthy vision. We understand that visual skills are essential for learning and our optometrists can help to provide the optimum eye care service for children who are struggling with their vision. For more information or to book a consultation with us today, please call us directly or use our online contact form.
Learning Difficulties & Eye Sight
Unfortunately, it’s proven that children with learning difficulties such as Dyslexia are much more likely to suffer from impaired vision. As a result of impaired vision, children can be restricted in regards to classroom vision, completing homework and participating in visual arts. This can potentially result in lower academic success as visual problems can impact on the ability of the following:
- Reading comprehension.
- Homework completion.
- Classroom performance.
- Concentration and attention.
- Visual arts.
- Hand, eye coordinated sports.
We strive to work with parents and children to help improve their learning capacity and overcome impaired vision problems.
Journey To A Clearer Future
All of the fundamental components of learning rely heavily on the strength of visual skills. It is important to treat vision problems as early as possible in order to enable a child to reach their full potential – and to facilitate optimal outcomes. At Fiona Watt Optometrists, we are passionate about providing the best treatments to treat poor eye vision within children and people with learning difficulties. We will arrange an appointment with you and your child so that we can analyse what problems may be being experienced. Our optometrists will measure your child’s visual acuity to assess if they need spectacle correction or contact lenses to improve their vision.
The following treatments may include:
- Prescribing coloured overlays.
- Prescribing tinted lenses.
- Precise correction of sight problems with spectacles.
- Orthoptic eye exercises (this helps to alleviate convergence weakness).
- Spectacles that incorporate prisms.
Dyslexia, visual stress and colorimetry
We have experience, knowledge and extensive optometric and orthoptic clinical facilities at our practice to provide care for patients with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and for those that suffer with visual stress,
If you, the child’s SENCO or class teacher thinks your child may have dyslexia or visual stress, they may recommend this specialised test.
Dyslexia is a term used to refer to a number of complex specific learning difficulties that often also include problems with reading and spelling. People with dyslexia may have difficulty processing and remembering information they hear and see. This can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexic children may have problems with certain areas of academic performance, yet do well in other subjects and are generally intelligent. Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein were both thought to have dyslexia.
Only an Educational Psychologist can diagnosis dyslexia. Visual stress often runs concurrently with dyslexia. Our optometrist, Neha Patel will be able to help with the visual symptoms associated with dyslexia and will be offering testing with a coloured overlay.
Migraines triggered by visual factors such as flickering lights, sensitivity to glare from reading, television or computers; can be helped by using precision tinted lenses. People with these problems are often described as having visual stress. Migraine attacks may also be prevented by wearing precision tinted lenses, enabling patients to continue their daily activities despite the attacks and to cope in uncomfortable environments. Migraines have many different triggers, and clearly the tinted lenses will only help people whose migraines are triggered by light or vision. People with these problems are often described as having visual stress.
What is Visual Stress?
Visual stress refers to reading difficulties, light sensitivity and headaches from exposure to disturbing visual patterns. Often perceived by people who struggle to read, it can be responsible for print distortion and rapid fatigue when reading. The condition is estimated to be present in approximately 40% of poor readers and 20% of the general population. Symptoms can be experienced in varying degrees from simple fatigue when reading, to an inability to look at text and can vary from person to person.
The symptoms can occur despite normal vision and can include:
- movement of print
- fading of print
- letters changing shape or size
- letters fading or becoming darker
- patterns appearing, sometimes describes as “worms” or “rivers” running through print
- illusions of colour – blobs of colour on the page or colours surrounding letters or words
- rapid tiring
- headache or eyestrain
- moving closer to or away from the page
- becoming restless when reading
- using finger as a marker
- skipping words and lines
- rubbing eyes and blinking excessively
- low self esteem
Symptoms of visual stress are not always obvious. Many individuals who suffer with this condition believe the discomfort they feel when reading or the distortions they experience on the page are “normal” and experienced by everyone. That is until someone presents them with an appropriate colour and they realise that reading can become comfortable and enjoyable.
How Does Colour Help With Visual Stress?
Symptoms of Visual Stress can be reduced by the use of coloured filters: a coloured overlay placed over text or coloured lenses worn in spectacles. Optimal results have been achieved by the use of a large number of colours. The Intuitive Colorimeter™ offers many thousands of colour combinations and offers true precision to the patient.
Coloured overlay testing sets enables the optometrists to identify the existence of visual stress. We recommend that any child struggling with reading is tested with coloured overlays, not only those who are thought to be suffering from dyslexia.
A testing set consist of eight different coloured transparent sheets. Each sheet is put over a text allowing the individual to choose the optimal coloured overlay, frequently shown to improve greater comfort in reading.
If one finds the use of a coloured overlay successful, they may benefit from a full colorimetry assessment. This allows the optometrist to accurately find the precise precision tinted lenses. These lenses can then be prescribed into spectacles. Precision tinted lenses are more of a long term solution and are more convenient for copying from the board, from another book or when using the computer
Precision Tinted Lenses
Precision Tinted Lenses offer a long term solution and offer thousands of colour combinations from the Intuitive Colorimeter, whilst with coloured overlays the range of colours is limited.
Specific coloured lenses are more suitable for copying from the board or from another book. The colour of the lenses is usually different from the colour chosen as an overlay.
Colour chosen as an overlay may not be the same as the precision colour chosen following assessment using the Intuitive Colorimeter™. Lenses tinted to match a coloured overlay may offer very little benefit.
Our principal optometrist, Neha Patel, is an accredited specialist in the use of the Cerium Intuitive Colorimeter. After the colour assessment, the lenses are only provided and tinted with our prescription at the Cerium special purpose lab. Every pair of lenses is issued with a certificate of authenticity.
We recommend anyone who struggles to read should make an appointment with one of our optometrists who will check for any existence of refractive errors, such as long or short sight or astigmatisms. Eye examinations for children are free under the provision of the NHS. It is important to rule out or treat other vision deficits before testing for visual stress. Your optometrist will then refer you to our in house visual stress clinic with Neha Patel.
The recommended Visual Stress assessment process follows a 3 stage protocol:
It is essential that every individual who struggles to read or believes they may suffer from symptoms of visual stress, first undergoes a full eye examination. This is important to rule out any ocular problems. This test is available free of charge for all school aged children, under NHS provision. Our optometrists will also check for any ocular motor balance defects and binocular function. If a defect is found, exercises may be recommended.
Having ascertained that ocular problems are not the cause of symptoms, an overlay assessment is recommended. Different coloured overlays are used over a particular text and the child chooses which overlay they have optimal reading vision. The chosen overlay is then used with the Wilkins Rate of reading. The patient is asked to read a passage of text twice, with and without the chosen coloured overlay whilst the optometrists counts the amount of words read per minute in both scenarios. If proven, that the patient is able to read more words with a coloured overlay, the optometrist may suggest the patient use an overlay and return within a few weeks, noting any improvements.
Any improvement in reading speed and accuracy of 15% and above can be considered a successful outcome.
Following successful use of a coloured overlay, we may suggest a colorimetry assessment. The patient many benefit from a more long term solution by using the Intuitive Colorimeter. A precision tint may be prescribed as appropriate with the colour being specific to each individual’s needs, much more precise than an overlay and very often a different colour to the overlay. Coloured lenses are also much more convenient than overlays for board and computer work.
For more information, please read https://ceriumvistech.com/patient-questions/
Contact Fiona Watt Optometrists
Here at Fiona Watt Optometrists, we provide industry-leading eye care services and treatments for children with learning difficulties. For the 25 years we’ve been established, we’ve been immensely proud to offer treatments that enhance children’s lives and alleviate or reduce symptoms of impaired vision. For more information or to book an initial eye test consultation, please call us today directly. Alternatively, if you prefer to email, please use our online contact form!