Part two of a three-part series by
Laubman & Pank Optometrists
Vision difficulties can play a part in a whole host of learning difficulties,
affecting scholastic achievement and personal development.
Untreated vision difficulties can cause children to trail behind the
rest of the class or develop destructive behavioural patterns.
Because they don't know what normal vision is, children with vision
disorder tend not to ask for help.
While school vision screenings pick up a number of common problems,
they are not a substitute for a full vision examination. Concerned parents
and teachers are often the first to notice that a child is experiencing
Does your child have
a vision problem?
Common symptoms of vision disorders include losing the place while reading,
avoiding close work, a rigid body while looking at distant objects,
holding books very close, excessive head movements, tilting head to
one side, frequent eye rubbing, thrusting the head forward to see distant
objects, headaches, tension during close work, and little or no voluntary
The most common children's vision problems are short and long-sightedness,
Short-sighted (or myopic children) find it hard to see things at a distant.
Long sighted (or hyperopic) children find it difficult to focus on near
objects. Astigmatism - an irregularly shaped eye - causes objects to
appear distorted and blurred.
Parents' and teachers' detective work really comes into play where children
have conditions affecting vision performance - the ability of the eyes
to work together.
There are five conditions that fall into this category: poor eye co-ordination,
which may result in a 'lazy eye'; turned eyes, where the eyes point
in different directions; eye movement defects; poor eye-hand co-ordination;
and focusing difficulties.
These conditions may disguise themselves as annoying behaviour such
as restlessness, being slow in learning to read, or withdrawn, poor
at sport, and not getting along with other children. A child with poor
vision performance may pass basic eye chart tests, but still have difficulty
reading and concentrating.
Signs that may indicate a vision performance problem include one eye
turning in or out while the other points straight ahead, frequent blinking,
frequently red eyes, watering eyes, sensitivity to light, and screwing
up the eyes while watching television.
These children may also cover or close one eye while they read and write
crookedly with poor spacing. They may also omit or confuse words when
The best way to prevent vision disorders disrupting a child's schooling
is to catch it early. Just as we see a dentist regularly, the Australian
Optometrical Association recommends that all children should receive
a full vision examination at the ages of six months, three years and
six years followed by regular examinations at three-year intervals.
Laubman & Pank Optometrists visit Tennant Creek every month. Eye
bulk billed to Medicare.
Appointments can be made by phoning toll free 131 567.
Cataracts, a cloudiness in the lens of the eye that can cause blindness,
are easily and safely removed.
Cataracts are usually a result of ageing, although they are occasionally
caused by injury or disease. Most people over 65 have signs of cataracts.
The lens of the eye hardens with age. We first notice this normal change
when we need glasses to help us read in middle age.
Cataracts usually develop slowly and painlessly, progressively reducing
useful vision. Symptoms include blurred or hazy vision, seeing spots,
double vision and increased glare sensitivity.