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Is your child school ready?

by | 21 Jan 2019 | News

Unfortunately, not every child’s vision will be school ready this year. Importantly, vision is responsible for 80% of all learning in a child’s first twelve years?[10]

Poor vision can interfere with your child’s learning and social development, yet 1 in 5 children suffers from an undetected vision problem. A child’s eyes are central to their school life. Whether they are playing sport, reading, writing or using a digital device, their eyes are working hard.

That’s why it’s important for children to be school ready and to have an eye examination prior to starting primary school and every couple of years thereafter, to monitor their vision and eye health.

Don’t forget that we can process any private health fund or optical claims during your visit.   So, help your child be their best and book them in for a comprehensive eye examination. It may be the most important thing you do for them this year [10].

Children’s Vision Screening

Noosa Optical provides no gap consultations for all kids under the age of 16 years. After paying for their eye test, we will process your instant Medicare claim for you and ensure that you receive a 100% rebate for your child’s eye test. Children’s vision testing aims to identify amblyopia and refractive errors in young children using a specially designed test for children. We’re here to help you get your children school ready this year.

The research on children’s vision

Approximately one in five Australian children suffers from an undetected vision problem, or requires ongoing assessment[1].

Medicare statistics show an alarming decline in the number of Children’s Vision Assessments per capita in the 0-4 year old group over the past 3 years and more recently this trend appears to extending into the 5-14 year age group[2].

Amblyopia

Alignment of the eyes during the early years of life is considered critical for development of binocular vision[3]. Amblyopia is a condition that occurs when there is altered visual input or abnormal binocular interactionresulting in diminished vision in one or both eyes[4].  Strabismus is the most common cause of amblyopia and isthe term used to describe any anomaly of ocular alignment. It can occur in one or both eyes and in anydirection[5].

Amblyopia is unique to children but is preventable if the child receives adequate treatment in childhood. The prevalence of amblyopia is approximately 1% – 4% of preschool children2. The Lea Symbols Chart has beenshown to have a high sensitivity for amblyopia[6].

Vision development is said to be complete by the time the child is eight years of age, however some aspects ofvisual development will already be complete by the time the child reaches school age[7].

The National childrens vision screening project [8] conducted in 2008, recommended that a vision screen shouldbe conducted for all children at around 4 years of age, with an allowable range from 3.5 to 5 years. In thecommunity health setting, this is currently achieved by using the 15 line (3 metre) Lea Symbols Chart. The Lea Symbols Chart distance visual acuity test has been shown to be successfully used in 76% of children 3 years andover and more than 90% of children 4 years and over4.

Frequency of children’s eye tests

Optometry Australia recommends that children have a full eye examination with an optometrist before starting school and regularly as they progress through primary and secondary school[9].

It is important that all children receive a vision screen prior to school entry to:

  • identify eye and vision problems that may cause permanent vision loss
  • identify eye and vision problems that can affect a child’s learning
  • maximise treatment outcomes by identifying and treating childhood vision problems early, during the critical visual development period
  • prevent avoidable vision loss and/or blindness later in life

While eye health surveillance by family members and teachers can monitor a child for outward signs of eye orvision problems, the two most common childhood vision problems, amblyopia and refractive error, cannot bedetected by family history, vision surveillance or observing a child’s behaviour or appearance. These commonchildhood vision problems can only be detected if a monocular visual acuity screen is conducted by a trainedvision screener or qualified eye health professional.

Noosa Optical Optometrists is a full service, family practice based in Noosa Junction since 1989. We provide eye tests for children as well as adults, with a focus on comprehensive eye health and quality options in eyewear. Book an appointment to see one of our Optometrists and ensure your children are school ready.

References:

[1] Optometry Australia Children’s Vision Resources; http://www.optometry.org.au/

[2] http://medicarestatistics.humanservices.gov.au

[3] Duckman R H. Visual Development, Diagnosis, and Treatment of the Pediatric Patient. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Philadelphia, USA, 2006: 279-280.

[4] Granet D. Amblyopia and Strabismus. Pediatric Annals. 2011 Feb 40 ;(2): 89-94.

[5] Coats  D  K,  Paysse,  E  A.  Evaluation  and  management  of  strabismus  in children. In: UpToDate, Basow, DS (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2012.

[6] Becker R, Hubsch MH, Graf MH, Kaufmann H. Examination of young children with Lea symbols. British Journal of Ophthalmology 2002; 86: 513-516.

[7] NSW   Government.  Statewide  Eyesight  Preschooler  Screening  (StEPS) Program. Ministry of Health, NSW. Jan 2012. p. 1.

[8] Commonwealth of Australia. National children’s vision screening project. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Oct 2008.

[9] http://www.optometry.org.au

[10] Vision Council of America, Making the Grade, 2009

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