New eyecare hope for those with reading problems
The hour-long examination is designed to help pinpoint the issues which may be preventing someone from developing the skills required for reading.
The package of tests sets out to assess whether the problems are due to difficulties with memory, the tracking of the eyes, pattern recognition or visual stress.
A report is then written for the patient which outlines the results of the tests and makes recommendations for the management of the symptoms.
If someone’s reading ability is being affected by visual stress (sensitivity to some patterns; particularly stripes) some of the symptoms can be treated by using coloured filters in a lens. A further examination is therefore carried out using an Intuitive Colorimeter; a piece of equipment which determines exactly what tint is required to alleviate those symptoms.
Although this service is based at Norville Opticians in Keynsham between Bath and Bristol it is available to patients throughout the region.
Optometrist Jane Mason said: “Many people’s reading problems can go undetected for years. Visual stress can occur in a person even if their eyesight is normal. It can cause frustration and a lack of self-confidence and it is beneficial to pick it up as soon as possible. The longer it is left the greater the lack of self-esteem.
“Signs of visual stress may include headaches and sore eyes, print appearing blurred or seeming to move, letters changing shape or size, fading or becoming darker. In some cases patterns and coloured fringes can be seen.
“Parents may be able to spot this in their child if they become restless while reading, moving closer to or away from the page, blinking or rubbing their eyes excessively or using their finger as a marker and such like.”
Jane Mason added: “The use of precision colour tints has been shown to help with dyslexia as well as ME and migraine.
She concluded: “This extended specialist examination can show up any problems. This is a private consultation and is not covered under the standard NHS eye examination. Parents, children and teachers alike have been amazed at how quickly they can see improvements in the speed and accuracy of reading skills.”