Wearing glasses due to an eye turn from an early age herself gave Liz Muller, owner of Eyecare Plus Altona, real insight and kicked off her special interest in children’s vision.
She realised early on as an optometrist how visual challenges could significantly impact on the quality of a child’s learning.
“The appropriate use of glasses or contact lenses, and vision therapy when required, has helped many children to reach their full potential without the added deficit of a vision problem,” Liz explains.
“It’s very satisfying to see kids who have come in with symptoms of eyestrain, blurred vision, and trouble concentrating on their work, start enjoying reading and learning again.”
Liz notes that the current generation of young learners also do a lot of their tasks using screen-based devices. She says that this is a lot of work for a young visual system that’s been traditionally accustomed to more flexible visual tasks, and fatigue of the eyes is very common.
“I saw the incredible amount of time that my own kids spent on screens during remote learning, and then afterwards in their leisure time. I explain that this is like trying to do push-ups with your eyes all day!
“This is a major concern for the parents who bring their children in for an eye test.”
Apart from having a comprehensive eye test that assesses all the near visual skills, getting an appropriate amount of time outside can reduce the risk of longer term visual problems such as myopia.
“Time outside, moving, getting sunlight, and letting your eyes be flexible is so important for developing eyes.”
This is more commonly known as short-sighted eyesight and progressive myopia occurs when the person needs stronger glasses regularly. Research shows that specialised contact lenses, and new spectacle lenses incorporating peripheral myopia control zones, are more effective than traditional lenses in controlling the progression of myopia.
“Yes,” Liz says, “contact lenses for kids are easier and safer than you think and can provide a lot of freedom! Kids are quite responsible when it comes to wearing contact lenses. They love them for sport, dancing and other activities.”
VISION THERAPY CLINIC
The clinic employs evidence-based in-office and home-based vision therapy programs for children (and adults) who have lazy and turned eyes, eye movement and tracking difficulties, and convergence insufficiency. Vivid Vision Virtual Reality training for eye teaming and lazy eye is also used.
EYE MOVEMENTS AND VISUAL PROCESSING
Eyecare Plus Altona offers visual processing testing and uses the Readalyzer for tracking and eye movement assessment for children whose vision problems may be impacting on their ability to develop adequate reading skills.
Eyecare Plus Altona, 90 Railway Street South, Altona. Opens 9am-5.30pm Monday-Friday; 9am-2pm Saturday; and Thursday night by appointment, Enquiries: 9398 1344 or visit www.visionadvantage.com.au or www.eyecareplus.com.au/altona