Our focus on near vision skills underpinning reading

A/Professor Hartley who is a practising medical practitioner and optometrist,  holds extra qualifications in paediatric eye care. He puts a great emphasis on evidence-based in-depth assessment of dynamic aspects of eye coordination and focusing abilities, especially when a child reads. This is an area that is often overlooked by non-paediatric trained professionals, as children with these issues, still tend to have perfect distance vision. Medicare has recognised the necessity of these evidence-based tests of eye coordination and focusing by adding a specific item number to allow extra time during a child’s eye examination to investigate beyond just distance vision.

Signs that parents can look out for may include:

  • Unexplained headaches after close work or on school days
  • Holding reading material or electronic devices very close
  • Squinting or closing of one eye
  • Blinking excessively
  • Avoiding reading
  • Skipping or confusing small (known) words.

Correction of focusing and eye coordination deficits causing problems with children maintaining focus at near can lead to a remarkable change in the child who is now free to access their learning uninhibited by a visual learning problem.

A/Professor Hartley: “I have found many children who have an easily treated vision deficit, have lost belief in themselves and given up because of difficulty maintaining concentration when doing near vision tasks. A thorough near point examination should be conducted to eliminate vision problems in all children who present with difficulty maintaining visual concentration.”

“Correcting these problems lets the child see how smart they really are, often restoring their self-esteem and allowing them to reach their potential”

Myopia in children

Myopia is now viewed as an epidemic in many Asian countries.

Vision problems are increasing as children get older and research is finding that the genetic pre-disposition for myopia or short-sightedness can be ‘activated when children perform prolonged close work, for example using tablets and smart phones – an increasing occurrence in today’s modern world.

A/Professor Hartley uses evidence based treatments to decrease the progression of myopia in children.

Treatments can include:

  • Atropine 0.01% eyedrops instilled each night
  • Special contact lenses to reduce peripheral defocus on the retina
  • Recommendation to spend at least spend one hour outdoors each day
  • Orthokeratology contact lenses worn each night
  • Regular six monthly reviews

If you are a concerned parent and suspect your child might need specialist myopia assessment and treatment please contact h2 Vision Centres today.