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.

If you have a child who is struggling at school then you will be extremely interested in information that offers help for children with learning disabilities, whatever form it may take. You are probably concerned enough to spend big dollars and loads of time trying to find a solution to their academic problems, and you may notice that there is a huge variety of material available, especially on the Internet.

Reading disabilities are a hot topic these days, with many students struggling to keep up with their peers, or failing to do enough work at home. This provides a challenge for the teachers who care for them, especially remedial teachers, but it can be a source of great pain and incredible frustration for both parents and kids.

Behavioural optometry can help children with learning disabilitieschildren with learning disabilities

Having worked in the field of dyslexia and educational disabilities for over 20 years, I care about how vision affects education. I’m not talking about whether a child can see clearly not, because most kids can see perfectly well, but the question is can they see comfortably and can they take in, interpret and understand the information their eyes are giving them as they look at computers or books.

A behavioural optometrist goes far beyond a regular eye test. Almost all optometrists test children’s eyes, a behavioural optometrist cares enough to take extra time to closely examine the focusing and eye teaming abilities, eye movements across a page, and a variety of perceptual skills like visualisation, directionality, sequencing and coding.

Because vision is the dominant sense in the classroom (and at home for Home work!), the vast majority of children with learning disabilities actually have a strong visual component to the difficulties, with over 80% of all information in the classroom coming in via the eyes and visual system. This is especially true for ADHD, autistic or asperges kids or children struggling with vestibular, audio or any other learning disorder or disability.

And it is not just about the ability to see, because chimpanzees can see a book but they cannot learn like we can, no matter what interventions or additional experience we give them. Kids might see the print, but focusing on it for any length of time can cause fatigue, frustration or eyestrain, and so they choose to lose concentration very quickly on their work books.

If they constantly lose concentration, the concerns are that they never do enough to develop the visual abilities that they need to learn effectively. Skills like eye movements, focus and eye teaming, visualisation and the like are essential for learning, but it takes practice to gain the skill.

Checking Vision can be Helpful for children with Learning Disabilities

The role of the behavioural optometrist is to ensure that a child’s eyes and visual system are set up appropriately to allow them to learn at maximum efficiency and progress in their studies. Our task is to get them concentrating and to help them develop the visual abilities that are required for learning, and that will last a lifetime.

So if you are serious about investigating why they are struggling at school, and if you feel you are ready for a cost-effective and successful mode of treatment, then my recommendation is that you carefully examine the child’s vision.

That is my role as a behavioural optometrist. I do not teach children to read, I do not drill spelling words with them, but I am able to give them the skills they need to do these appropriately. Using glasses and specific vision therapy my aim is to have a huge impact on every child who was struggling at school, and to join with educational professionals to ensure that children with learning disabilities get every chance possible to overcome and succeed.

developmental optometristA developmental optometrist is another name for a behavioural optometrist, which is an optometrist who takes a special interest in the development of the visual system, especially as it applies to learning difficulties and the development of conditions like myopia.

Most developmental optometrists start out as I did, being a regular optometrist but wanting to do more to help the children I was seeing.  I recognized that conventional optometry did not detect all the conditions of the eyes, in particular those which relate to children with learning problems.

Many kids with learning difficulties visit an optometrist and are told that they have 20/20 vision, and that they are not long or short sighted.  This leaves parents with little alternative except to move on and try tutoring, etc., but if you main symptom is poor concentration when reading and doing close work, there has got to be more to the story!

So How Can a Developmental or Behavioural Optometrist Help?

On the Sunshine Coast there are many optometrists, in all shapes and sizes, some working for big corporations and others, like myself, in smaller, friendlier local practices.  Yet there are very few behavioural optometrists, dedicated to testing and treating visual development in children with learning difficulties.

“When you are a Developmental Optometrist your entire philosophy of vision testing changes,” explains Dr Darin Browne, “And rather than simply testing to see if a child is long or short sighted, we look far deeper at the focusing and eye teaming abilities, as well as factors like visual memory for spelling, directionality for letter reversals and other perceptual skills like coding, sequencing and even eye movements.”

The reality is that the developmental optometrist often discover deeper issues that are not even being tested by other more conventional Optometrists.  And even more importantly, they have a means of not only testing for conditions, but also treating them successfully.

“Using specialized lenses and prescribing various types of vision therapy we can successfully help the vast majority of children who come to our practice with learning problems,” explains Darin, “and that is what most parents really want to see happen… that their children, who they know are bright, have the chance to reach their full potential.”

So even if your child has seen another Optometrist, why not visit Eye CU and discover how a developmental optometrist could make the difference in your child’s learning difficulties.

nearsightedness and farsightednessMany people ask me how nearsightedness and farsightedness are related to learning, especially among children.  Do they make things worse, better or is learning and reading completely unaffected by these two conditions?

Farsightedness Verses Nearsightedness

It helps to understand the difference between nearsightedness and farsightedness.  Nearsightedness is when distant objects become blurred but near objects are easier to see and focus on.  Long sightedness or farsightedness is the opposite, where distant objects are clear and easy to concentrate on, but near objects like books and computers are more difficult to focus on.

 

The symptoms are where it gets very interesting.  Farsightedness usually sees both distance and near objects clearly, but their main problem is eyestrain.  Nearsighted people rarely experience eyestrain, but the price they pay for this is the distant objects become more and more blurry.

So when it comes to learning, nearsightedness and farsightedness are actually polar opposites.

 

Nearsighted people tend to be big near viewers, that is they concentrate for long periods of time on close tasks.   Unlike their farsighted counterparts, near sighted people (or myopic people) are usually bookworms, computer geeks, gamers, studiers and good students.

 

In contrast, farsightedness makes looking at near objects much harder.  Therefore most long sighted people have a hard time concentrating on near objects, and so they tend to either experience eyestrain such as sore eyes or headaches, or frequently they simply fail to concentrate and so they become academically very poor.

 

Many children with learning disabilities find it hard to concentrate and do well at school because they are farsighted.  On the other hand, most short sighted students are good at school, and most often at reading.

 

It should also be noted that with the rise of hand held computer devices such as smart phones, tablets and hand held gaming consoles, the incidence of nearsightedness is increasing rapidly.  This is because, unlike farsightedness, becoming more nearsighted gives the person an edge up close and allows them to concentrate foe a long period of time doing what they love!  Again, concentrating for long period on near objects promotes the growth of nearsightedness ad farsightedness is actually detrimental to prolonged close work.

 

So, when it comes to learning, nearsightedness and farsightedness are complete opposites.

 

Learning Disabilities

Sunshine Coast OptometristIf you are trying to find a children’s Sunshine Coast Optometrist then it is worth turning to Dr Darin Browne, who has been working with children and learning difficulties for over 25 years.

Darin operates from a family friendly Optometry practice and brings years of experience and creativity into the testing of children, especially kids who are struggling at school.  His entire practice is geared around children, with a huge selection of fun frames, the latest in lens innovation for kids and online vision therapy.

He makes sure that from the moment you walk through the door, you are made to feel welcome, with friendly staff and a great atmosphere that your kids will love, from the PlayStation in the reception area to specialized tests that have been designed exclusively for children.

In fact, he thrives on kids, so your child’s eye test will be more fun than any other offered by any Sunshine Coast Optometrist.

Darin has seen remarkable changes in the world of optometry, and in the field of learning disabilities and dyslexia.  And with vision being the dominant sense in the classroom, having over 80% of all information coming in to the child’s brain, the link between vision problems and learning difficulties is a very strong one.

With most optical stores on the Coast treating children like miniature adults, Darin is the Sunshine Coast optometrist with a completely different view, with a host of special tests designed for children which the big stores simply don’t do.

He also writes and designs his own therapies, so the incredible results seen for children with learning difficulties are available exclusively through Eye CU Optometrist on the Sunshine Coast.

So don’t leave your child struggling to learn, or experiencing headaches, sore eyes or poor concentration and frustration when trying to read.  Visit Dr Darin Browne at Eye CU, the Sunshine Coast Optometrist who genuinely cares for your children and your family.