Insight Optometrists launches Clever Eyes Reading Academy
The role of eye health in child development
Vision problems in children can go undiagnosed because a child thinks everyone sees the world in the same way as they do. Indications that there might be an issue with reading can include squinting, rubbing the eyes, experiencing headaches, holding a book too close or too far away when reading or having difficulty seeing the board.
It is recommended that every child should have an eye examination before the age of two and at least once more before commencing school. Eyes and vision should be checked regularly to ensure any problems are detected quickly and treated early.
Regular eye checks are important because
- over 80% of a child’s learning is experienced through vision
- vision problems affect 1 child out of every 4 children
- strong eye muscles and good visual processing are essential for school performance
Parents should bring their children in to Insight Optometrists if they are concerned about the development of their child’s reading skills. This will determine whether a visual problem is interfering with the reading process and, if necessary, what course of action should be taken to improve the situation for the child.
Focusing on children’s eyecare
At Insight Optometrists, we take the care of your child’s eyes very seriously, which is why we have optometrists who have a special interest in children’s eye health.
Our friendly staff make your children feel as comfortable and at ease as possible. Eye examinations are non invasive and can be a new, fun experience for your child as part of their development and growing up.
Getting the best assessment for your child
Visual skills are critical to learning and reading. A thorough assessment of your child’s sight will reveal any factors that may be affecting their development and a course of Vision Therapy recommended. This would specifically aim to develop and reinforce the necessary visual skills through a program of customised eye exercises.
When evaluating visual skills, standard tests include checking physical eye attributes such as clarity of sight, the way the eyes work together and their focusing capability.
A further, very important factor is the way the eyes track across the page when reading and the Visagraph is a piece of equipment that can provide detailed analysis of eye movement.
The Visagraph is a specialised recording system that accurately measures eye movements during reading. A pair of digitally adapted goggles is worn by the student while they read a short piece of text. A computer tracks eye movements and details of eye position and speed, for analysis.
The student is also asked a few, brief questions about the text that determine the level of comprehension achieved.
Eye movement is strongly related to fluency in silent reading, so data collected by the Visagraph computer provides Insight Optometrists with an in-depth view of the student’s reading efficiency.
Whilst reading, the overall path of eyes across the page should be an even, stepped process, consistent for both eyes. The Visagraph tracks the movement of both left and right eyes, separately, spotting any fixations on a particular word, or regressions where the eye is taken back to re-read a word.
This might be an indication of eye strain, focusing issues, or problems with using the left and right eyes together as a team.
Visagraph testing also reveals word reading speed, directional attack and recognition span which can tell how fast, how efficiently and with what level of understanding the student is reading.
From all of this information, Insight Optometrists are able to detect any deficiencies in vision, perception or information processing that may be hindering the child’s reading development.
The Visagraph print-out provides a visual representation of how the student reads and can be used to benchmark their skills at the start of the program. Subsequent testing will allow for direct comparison of results and assessment of improvement.
This method can also be used for non-readers, who can track numbers or images, to assess their visual skills is the same way.
Training to improve reading ability
Using information from the Visagraph, along with the results of the child’s eye examination, Insight Optometrists are able to design a personalised plan for improving eye movement skills. An individual Vision Therapy program is tailored to tackle any specific deficiencies in visual functioning, perception or cognition. The program is administrated and fully overseen by our Insight Optometrist doctors.
Programs are available in Australia for all ages, in conjunction with Lexia and Reading Plus, both internationally accredited learning schemes. These provide the child with extra reading practice at a level suitable for their current development, adding exercises that assist with the specific areas where they need additional support and training.
These programs are designed to build visual skills that increase the child’s enjoyment of reading, making learning easier and less stressful for the child, leading to better marks at school.
For all ages
Pre-school children from as young as 6 months can benefit from testing and starting on a program, to ensure healthy vision and eye development from an early age.
Schoolchildren and students can improve or enhance their reading skills. Poor readers become exceptional readers and readers who are already competent become superior readers.
Adults of any age benefit from the program, by improving reading speed and comprehension, as well as reducing eye strain and other complaints that can arise from inefficient reading practices.
Give your child a head start at learning
Visual skills establish a strong foundation for reading. When these skills are mastered, reading becomes easier and faster, leading to more enjoyment and better learning.
Insight Optometrists conduct testing, evaluation and training of visual skills.
Call us now to start helping your child improve their reading