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As I said in the previous post, this blog is not for other optometrist colleagues who are specialized in the same area as me. It is for the rest of the people, a broad group of people worried about their own eyes or about other people’s eyes, and how the vision works.
Specifically, this blog can be interesting for:
- As I said, any person that, suffering visual upsets, has visited an optician’s or an ophthalmologist office and they have said she sees 100 percent and she does not have any visual problem; or in another case, they offered some glasses and following the “professional advice”, she thinks that it is the only solution. But she keeps on noticing she does not perform well in her job or in her studies; she can not concentrate many hours; it is difficult for her to change the focusing on different papers-computer over the table, or to do near-to-far and/or far-to-near fixation changes; the letters “dance” when she reads, her eyes get tired when she does it; she can not take many hours reading, sewing or doing handicrafts; she has headaches or eye stinging; she is not able to enjoy reading a book, in fact, she has never liked to do it, … a vast number of symptoms that some simple glasses or contact lenses, used to only improve the “quantity” of vision, are not enough to improve the “quality” of vision.
As we will see later, sometimes glasses can relieve that symptomatology, but it is not always enough. A specialized optometrist could offer more variety of options to relieve her upsets.
- Any father, mother, grandmother, uncle, friend, neighbour, nanny,… being in contact with a child and they want to make sure that the child has an efficient visual system that allows him to develop a good learning at school and to avoid any problems at sports, social contact with other children or adults, and so on.
In everyday life, parents, better than anybody, can observe whether their children are using some compensatory method of any visual problem that their parents do not know that their children have. For example: getting too closer to the TV; getting to closer the paper when they are drawing, writing or reading; rubbing their eyes a lot; tilting their head very much or even resting it in their arm when they do any homework at near, in order to use only one eye; avoiding any of that homework at near; missing the line when they read; needing the help of their finger to do it; reversing letters or numbers; changing the position of some letters within a word; being very sensitive to the light; etc. Everything indicates the existence of a visual problem, that discovered on time, it would not affect their learning or their general life.
- Any education professional, from nursery schools, all the way up to the elementary school and finishing in high school (teachers, assistant, nurse, psychologist, …)
Just as their parents, these professionals spend much time of the day in contact with children/teenagers. It is not the same case, because for each father his child is “his child” and teachers have many “children” to worry about. Many times the signs are too obvious; other times, not so much.
Fortunately, the concept “learning of disabilities” is better known and recognized each time. There is more and more information about this subject in many professions, not only in education.
Do not go so far, in my generation, if a child got bad grades at school, he was simply a bad student and he “did not want to” study or he “was not good” to study. Nowadays any professional looks at this subject in depth and looks for the cause why the child suffers from school failure. But fortunately you, education professionals, already know it. But, what I want to remind you is that most information that a child receives is visual, and almost all information that is not directly visual, is related to it. That’s why, it is very important that you always make sure that if a child “fails” at school, the cause is not related to any visual reason. Your observation along with those of their parents is crucial to detect these visual problems.
I do not believe in the concept that a child is “lazy” or that he is more “stupid” than the rest. Everybody had potential when we were born, and we “learn to see” with our experiences. The problem is that while some people have known or have had the opportunity to develop this ability, others have not.
Signs like these: not obtaining the main idea of a text or not knowing how to summarize; moving his head when the child is reading or doing it in a monotonous way; not remembering or understanding what he has read; being a restless child on the chair; winking his eyes, covering one of them; copying from his classmate’s notebook; being bad at sports; having bad handwriting… these and more are indications of masked visual and perceptive problems, which people do not think enough about. Providing a correct treatment, the child improves his school performance, improving his visual performance.
- Any another professional specializing in children: pediatricians, psychologists, pedagogues, speech therapists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, otorhinolaryngologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapist, osteopaths... Well, I am sure I forget someone, I am sorry. We, optometrists and visual therapists, belong to all that huge group of professionals that take care of the health of the child, each one from our own speciality.
The next fragment expresses what I think VERY WELL. This belongs to a post of Rosina Uriarte’s blog (in Spanish language) (specialist in Early Stimulation). She expresses the ten things she more “detests”. I just want to show the seventh one because it talks about what I am writing:
(Excuses, I have tried to translate it the best way I could :-))
“…I detest the war of rivalry among the professionals: "Don’t go to the optometrist office, they aren’t medical doctors”; “The psychologist doesn’t know anything about this…”; the neurologist, the psychologist, the speech therapist, the physiotherapist… Each one of them just looks at their own subject, they do not look beyond that, and parents have to put up the puzzle by joining all pieces… But the child is a whole, is not a pile of single pieces… THE MULTIDISCIPLINARITY IS VITAL TO TREAT ALL MANIFESTATIONS OF THE PROBLEM IN THE CHILD AND TO ATTAIN A SOLUTION. The child is a unit; it is not enough putting a patch here and other there…”
I think I would not have expressed it better. The child would be better treated if ALL OF US WOULD WORK TOGETHER, if all of us would know about other professionals’ existence too and if each one would work within our own specialty, without trampling on the work of other professionals.
I know that some parents think: “Well, so I have to visit many offices for my child to be fine and I do not have any time to do it. I have a job…” This is a thorny issue that only depends on the parents and what they want for their child. The perfect thing would be for parents that all these professionals were working in just one center, so the families would only visit one place; but unfortunately that does not exist. A good job is achieved, if each professional helps within his area the best way he knows, but is able to send him to another professional, thus helping the child as a whole. His problem would be solved sooner.
- Neurologists specializing in illness or traumatism which symptomatology or drugs necessary for the treatment, disturb the visual function (like Multiple Sclerosis or some brain injury, etc). In many of these cases, that visual function can be improved, and thus, at least we improve their quality of life a little bit.
- And not less important, any optician not specializing in this area who wants to know what the visual therapy is; how a neurological problem, development problem or learning disability affect the vision; knowing that there are more options besides conventional glasses or contact lenses; and sometimes, that those same options can be used to achieve another goal. And of course, the same as other professionals, they can send their patients to specialized colleagues, when the patient’s visual problems do not fall within their area.