Examining Kids Requires Special Children’s Vision Tests
There are more tests required to examine a child than most Optometrists perform routinely. Here at Eye CU, Darin performs a large range of children’s vision tests specifically designed to examine to unique vision problems kids can experience, especially in those doing poorly at school or becoming short sighted. Here’s a short list of the type of tests Darin performs…
Clear distance (visual acuity)
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 letter chart which has letters of steadily decreasing size. Children who cannot read are assessed using shapes, so at Eye CU, we can test children of almost any age, or children with any disability.
Change in focus (accommodation)
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, 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.
The most common symptoms of an accommodation children’s 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!
Aiming the eyes (coordination)
Eye coordination is the ability to coordinate two eyes together, having them fixate on 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. It also greatly affects children when they read, causing them to lose their place, misread words or skip lines
Eye movements (saccades and tracking)
Eye movement control is essential for reading and ball sports.
There are two main types of eye movements, and both require the eyes to work together as a team. The first type are 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 frequently lose their place while reading, mix up words, misread words, skip lines or who have difficulty in watching the ball while playing sport may have poorly developed eye movement skills, and they can be easily helped by the right type of vision therapy.
Depth perception is the ability to determine relative distance, regocnised 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. Depth perception is easily tested in an Eye CU examination for childrens vision problems.
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 driving a car, but it is also key to playing a lot of sports. 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.
Another important visual skill a child needs is eye-hand co-ordination, which involves the eyes and the brains directing the hands. It is very important in writing, and also in many sports, especially small ball sports like cricket and tennis.
The 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.
Kid’s Vision Problems Can be Easily Helped!
There are many other visual skills that Darin routinely tests as part of an analysis of learning difficulties and children’s vision problems. The fact is, kids are NOT little adults. They are unique and developing as they grow, and so a specialized battery of children’s vision tests are required to diagnose and effectively treat kids with learning difficulties.