Vision & Dyslexia - Frequently Asked Questions

Vision & Dyslexia - Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the Visual Stress & Reading clinic.

1. Do you test for colour blindness at the same time?

a. Colour vision is a standard test that we perform in all children’s eye examinations.

2. Is this provided on the NHS or would you have to pay privately for these tests?

a. The NHS is a limited resource and its first priority has to be the detection and prevention of sight-threatening disease. At present, the NHS does not have the funding to provide these assessments. As clinicians that have and continue to work within the NHS Hospital Eye Service, we have identified that there is a need for this type of assessment, hence offering this in private practice.

3. What is the best way to refer children to you from school?

a. All referrals ultimately need to be initiated by a parent or guardian. We have provided a form that can be completed with your findings as an educational professional or observations as a parent and this can then be sent to us via the parent.

4. How can parents arrange an assessment?

a. Parents can arrange an assessment either using the referral form or through contacting the practice directly via phone or email. Contact details for all of our practices can be found here.

5. If my child is prescribed glasses, will they need them for life?

a. The outcome of whether your child will need glasses is very dependent on their diagnosis. If they have a significant degree of long- or short-sightedness, it is likely that this will always need correcting. When prescribing to help with focusing or eye movement difficulties, we tend to prescribe therapeutically with the aim to reduce the degree of correction over time. Every child is different and we always tailor the examination and treatment regime to that child specifically.

6. How long does the assessment last, and when do you next see my child?

a. The assessment lasts approximately 90 minutes. Follow-up appointments are arranged on an individual basis and can range from between 3 and 6 months after the initial appointment.

7. Can I book a colorimetry or eye-tracking appointment independently of the initial assessment?

a. We strongly recommend that the full assessment is carried out, as otherwise subtle eye problems can easily be overlooked. It is well-known that while a small proportion of people do find a significant benefit from intuitive coloured overlays and therapeutic filters, these are still very much the minority therefore we should rule out underlying eye problems first.

We tend to arrange eye tracking assessments either as an extended part of the initial assessment or as a follow-up appointment, and colorimetry assessments generally after the person being assessed has found significant benefit from using a coloured overlay.

8. Do you look for any underlying pathology or eye health problems in the assessment?

a. Absolutely. This forms part of the routine eye examination which is always incorporated into the assessment. While pathology is a far less common cause of visual problems in children, it is never ruled out and always fully investigated.

9. What should I expect from the use of eye drops in the examination?

a. The eye drops are instilled towards the end of the examination once all other investigations have been completed. We use a drop called cyclopentolate which works to relax the eyes’ focusing capabilities. This usually induces blurred vision, particularly for close-up tasks, for up to 4 or 5 hours. The person’s pupils do also get larger and this can last for up to 48 hours. The drops can sting a little when we first put them in, but this quickly subsides and we recommend a short break while the drops are taking their effect. It takes approximately 30 minutes for the drops to reach their full efficacy.

10. What is the cost of the assessment?

a. You can find information on our pricing either here, or by contacting one of our practices directly.

11. Do you diagnose dyslexia?

a. We do not diagnose any specific learning difficulty in our clinics. Our sole purpose is to investigate eye problems and subtle differences in the eyes’ behaviour that can induce similar symptoms to those that are induced by dyslexia and other SpLD. Diagnosis of any SpLD can only be assessed and confirmed by an accredited Educational Psychologist. There are numerous Dyslexia Assessment Centres where a formal assessment and diagnosis can be made.

12. Are you behavioural optometrists? Do you perform behavioural optometry assessments?

a. We do not practice behavioural optometry within Eye Academy. The practice of behavioural optometry lacks robust, scientific backing and on occasions, can lead to important visual problems that need treatment being overlooked and not treated in time to improve vision. e.g., squints and lazy eyes. As a specialist team of paediatric optometrists, our assessment follows an specific process and encompasses the aspects of behavioural optometry that have been proven to work. We have then built upon this and perform additional examinations that identify further issues that a behavioural optometry assessment would not identify.

13. Is there much research on the overlap between ADHD and visual difficulties?

a. This research is ongoing. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is an increased prevalence of visual problems in ADHD.

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