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Children’s Vision Supplement 2011 live

March 2011

Effects of UV and the multi-media age on young eyes



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Schoolvision - a proud sponsor of this guide Welcome to Optometry Today’s 2011 Children’s Vision Supplement, which Schoolvision is proud to sponsor. 2010 was a landmark year for the Diploma in Schoolvision – the first complete year since its introduction. The diploma, which represents the study of the relationship between visual performance and the occupation of reading, places optometry at the centre of the fight against dyslexia. For a Schoolvision accredited practitioner, being able to offer these assessments can be an incredibly rewarding process allowing children, through ongoing treatment, to realise their true potential. It has been encouraging to see so many in the profession embrace

Schoolvision and what it can also achieve in terms of an additional revenue stream for practitioners. 2011 is proving to be even more exciting! Additional courses are constantly being added to the timetable to meet demand and we are all looking forward to this year’s Sportfair event in May which will feature a research review entitled ‘How academically-able children still underachieve in literacy’. There is also much excitement as Schoolvision is now attracting worldwide interest from countries as far apart as Sweden and New Zealand. We look forward to welcoming many more accredited practitioners to the ranks this year and to continuing to help many more children across the UK and beyond reach their reading potential.


Geraint Griffiths, clinical director, Schoolvision

Contents 4-5 update on the optical Confederation’s Children’s eyecare initiative, by chair polly dulley 7 Styles in children’s eyewear, by dunelm optical 8-9 making a difference with a Schoolvision diploma

10-11 Changing young lives with contact lenses, by Ciba Vision 12-13 Children’s vision in the digital age, by Karen Sparrow 15 the importance of protecting young eyes from uV, by Zoobug’s Julie diem le


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Young children’s eye health: still a buried issue?

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By polly dulley, chair of the Children’s eyecare initiative LAST Summer, 23,000 headteachers received a personal letter from the Optical Confederation highlighting the importance of children’s eye health with a call to action that they should support children having their eyes checked at a young age. We wrote to every primary school in the uK, asking for the help of the teaching profession in getting our message across to parents. We sent posters along with the letters and offered online resources that schools could access, to help them include eye health in the school curriculum. The call to action wasn’t limited to teachers and almost 1,000 optometrists and dispensing opticians signed up to the campaign, happy to go into their local schools to talk about eyes and eye care. A number of school headteachers got in touch and were keen to help us to raise awareness of the importance of children’s eye health with parents. We hope to build on this engagement

in future to ensure that our message is still getting across.

A public health disgrace The Confederation’s campaign ran alongside that of Transitions Optical, working in partnership to raise awareness of the issue. Transitions Optical hosted a roundtable event, attended by industry leaders, academics, professionals, parents and educators. AOP chief executive, Bob Hughes, commented at the time: “It’s an absolute public health disgrace. There are problems which can be corrected in young people’s eyes and yet it’s a buried issue, an unknown issue, that children are losing out on a good education because they can’t see.” The optometrist’s role in children’s eye care was discussed and, whilst the need for improved vision screening was agreed upon, it was felt that optometrists have a vital role to play in the provision of children’s eye care and a responsibility to communicate

this role to parents. AOP education adviser, Karen Sparrow, said: “As optometrists, we have the skills, equipment and resources to offer eye examinations to every child in the uK. So what are the barriers? most parents simply don’t think about it. There is currently no encouragement from other health care professionals to parents to take their child to visit an optometrist. many parents believe that all children have an eye check at school. This is simply not the case. Whilst some PCTs offer vision screening for four-year-olds, other PCTs do not have any form of vision screening, in spite of national guidelines recommending that they should do so.”

Plans for 2011 This year we will continue our efforts to reach parents and have approached major retailers, to see if they will be involved in our campaign. We would like to see one clear message on posters displayed in supermarkets, in multiples and in

in Optometry in Practice as a great starting point for those who aren’t sure of the equipment required to see young children. It certainly doesn’t have to cost a fortune and becoming a practice which welcomes children is a great business builder.

Resources to help you

How you can get involved Look at your own patients for interesting cases. Ask parents if they would be interested in helping our campaign by telling the story of their own child’s experience at the opticians for a local newspaper story, or to add to our database of campaign case histories. I have successfully enlisted the help of many families in my own practice who have been interviewed and had photographs taken. Their personal experience at the opticians – and how it has made a difference to the child – makes a great human interest story. In the past few months alone, more than six local papers have run stories of our child patients’ experiences at the opticians. We also secured wider campaign media coverage, including articles in The Guardian and The Observer, as well as interviews on radio 4. I’m conscious that some optometrists and dispensing opticians have little experience in seeing children and feel daunted by the prospect. I promise you, it’s well worth trying. Children offer a refreshing change to the routine eye examination, requiring imagination and patience but delivering tremendous professional satisfaction and plenty of fun! I recommend Dr Saunders’s recent paper

Have a look on the AOP’s website, in case you missed the ‘Top Tips’ guide to examining children’s eyes and dispensing spectacles. We are in the process of making a film showing some of the techniques and equipment that you may find useful in seeing children. The aim of this is to show you how accessible paediatric eye care really is. The techniques you need to adopt are straightforward and the equipment that you need to obtain is simple to use. many of the major CeT providers are recognising the importance of children’s eye care as a training need. There are courses and workshops, as well as mCQs available, all designed to improve your confidence and ability in seeing children. To fundamentally change the way in which vision screening is conducted in the uK will take time. The Children’s eyecare Initiative has long-term aims to change the way the Government looks at children’s eye care but for the time being we have more modest and achievable goals – to encourage motivated parents to take their child for an eye examination.

Polly Dulley Want to know more? See the AOP’s website for details about the children’s eye health campaign campaigns. If you would like more information about the Optical Confederation’s Children’s Eyecare Initiative, or have an interesting case study from your practice, please contact Anne Grenyer on 020 7401 5316 or


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independent practice. It’s vital that parents are made aware that their child may have an undetected vision problem and that the only way to ensure a child has the ability to see to learn is by having an eye examination with their community optometrist. In a recent article in Optometry in Practice, Dr Kathryn Saunders said that the optometrist’s aim should be: “That children are not disadvantaged by poor vision due to uncorrected refractive error and, where necessary, that they receive early and effective treatment for binocular problems and amblyopia.” Our campaign to date has tried to reach parents via schools and teachers. This year’s campaign will build on this to ensure our message is still getting across. You can help by communicating with your own patients. Why not talk about the importance of children’s eye care in your patient newsletters and reminders? Ask patients if their children or grandchildren currently have regular eye examinations and, if not, encourage them to bring their children in. There are a number of resources available on the AOP’s website, including a downloadable poster and an information leaflet for parents. We are in the process of redesigning this year’s campaign poster, which will be included in a resource pack to help you raise awareness in your local area. See page 2 of this guide for a sneak preview.


See our new collections at OPTRAFAIR Stand M40 Hall 20 Telephone +44 (0) 1388 420420

CommerCiAl feAture

mini shoppers expect more style from their eyewear

UNTIL receNT years wearing glasses often came with a certain stigma attached, particularly amongst children – but with ever evolving optical and sun ranges, High Street brands and designer labels on the market, today’s mini shoppers are spoilt for choice and more in tune than ever with what’s hot and what’s not. Peter Beaumont, director at Dunelm Optical, explains: “The children’s sector is one of the most exciting. Tweens and teens are now ultra savvy when it comes to their favourite style of eyewear, taking their lead from adult themes. rather than shy away from big and bold styles, children are embracing them, seeing them as a fashion accessory. colours provide a real point of difference, creating statement eyewear that will make them stand out from the crowd. “The teen market is certainly more brand aware than they were before, but they’re attracted to more fashion forward retail brands rather than premium designer. children, after all, are more likely to grow out of styles

quickly and being more active they’re more prone to damage and breakages, so affordability is key. For under 12s, the emphasis is on enjoyment, and frames are selected to fit their personalities.” This season, the 15 new styles in Dunelm’s popular Whiz Kids range have taken cool and classic designs that work for adults and made them work for kids. The entire range now totals 56 fantastic optical frames and 34 sun frames, offering something for everyone. Gr8Kids also encapsulates the latest trends, in a 13-strong optical collection. “Designs range from chunky frames with deep sides to vibrant stand-out colours. With the geek chic look set to soar in 2011, this increasingly fashion conscious market can be sure they are top of the class with our latest on-trend frames”, says Mr Beaumont. “For the younger audience girls are becoming more and more adventurous, with bright colours and impact sides detailing floral and star designs. Our new portfolio captures these styles and frames are

“tweens and teens are now ultra savvy when it comes to their favourite style of eyewear ”

available in both metal and plastic. Boys, on the other hand, seem to be playing it cool, by choosing square plain plastic frames in more subtle colours.” Practical, cost effective and hard wearing are not words children usually associate with fashion – but the majority of Dunelm’s Whiz Kids and Gr8Kids ranges are flexi-joint sided for durability, whist still retaining that ‘cool’ factor. “We use 90 degree bendy bridges and sides, and all our frames are made with superior quality materials,” he added. “When ordered in-glazed, all children’s frames have surfaced lenses to suit the size of the frame, at no extra cost. Some frames are available with curl sides – ensuring children don’t need to worry during sports or Pe lessons, but more importantly, these young trend setters will be sure to find up-to-the-minute frames to make their friends green with envy.” In addition to the glasses themselves, it’s also important to offer the latest ‘must have’ accessories to go with them, and the glasses case holds as much kudos in the classroom as the contest for the best pencil case. Again this comes down to individuality, personality and theme, and Dunelm offers a wide choice of funky cases in fabrics and plastics to suit different tastes. For further information, or to request a 2011 collection pack, contact Dunelm’s head office on 01388 420 420, or Practitioners can also order online by visiting

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CommerCial feature

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By Geraint Griffiths, clinical director of Schoolvision

Change your life with a Schoolvision diploma DAVID (not his real name) read the next to bottom line on the chart with both eyes – just. When he tried to read a line of single N10 letters in ‘Times’ font his whole body trembled, his face was waxen and he gave up after only four letters. David was in his first year at Moreton secondary school and was part of a threeyear study to investigate the effect of visual deficit on reading. He was small for his age

as were many of his contemporaries from this deprived area of Wolverhampton. His teachers were concerned by his lack of academic progress and even more about his behaviour, which was very disruptive. His good luck was to attend this enlightened school, then under the charge of head teacher, Tony Leach.

The Moreton study Based on the visual screening of 95 year seven students, the Moreton study paid particular attention to visual performance when reading. The startling conclusion was that up to 60% of the year seven pupils studied showed one or more predisposing sign/s of a simple binocular deficiency when reading. A sample of 12 students identified as having these signs were prescribed Schoolvision spectacles. They showed an average 30% improvement in behaviour as

assessed by their teachers (general behaviour, attentiveness, progress and sociability) over a three-month period using their new spectacles. During this time there was over 100% average improvement in reading speed and the visual acuity in 50% of children improved by one line or more. David was exceptional in many ways. He was given multifocal lenses with a blue tint but nothing else: no exercises, special attention or encouragement. From being hardly able to read he became one of the fastest readers in his year and was talked about as being a future head boy. His normal skin colour returned and the body tremor all but disappeared. The Moreton study suggested that a predisposition to binocular vision deficiency when reading can be regarded as normal in year seven children. It follows that signs of dyslexia may be normal for more than half the population; the ability to adapt to and cope with this condition depending on the degree

Diploma in Schoolvision Practice

Dyslexia The cause of dyslexia has not been fully understood and currently most optometrists, in deference to educational psychologists, wouldn’t disagree that it is due to a congenital disorder in higher brain function. However it is curious that when considering a simple definition of dyslexia – from the Oxford English Dictionary is literally ‘difficulty seeing words’, our profession doesn’t generally acknowledge that this is likely to involve vision. In essence, dyslexia may depend on the way the eyes work together. If this is the case (as suggested by the

and psychological morbidity. It is likely that as a species we have not yet evolved to deal with hours of reading or working on a computer. It may be that our profession has a very important role to play in helping us deal with the visual demands of the technological age.

Current PCT attitudes These findings will inevitably effect the funding of eye care by local PCTs, which are struggling with a reducing budget, their dilemma is all the more acute because of the wording of the Opticians Act. Schoolvision corrects anomalies of eye dominance, refraction, accommodation, convergence, light sensitivity, or any combination using methods both traditional and improved. These anomalies are simply defects of an anatomical or physiological nature as defined by The Act.

“it is not unrealistic to suggest that curing dyslexia will have a significant impact” Moreton study) then the implications for the industry are profound. The British Dyslexia Association estimate that over 50% of the prison population has an official diagnosis of dyslexia and media reports suggest that 40% of entrepreneurial millionaires in the UK are also dyslexic; for whatever reason dyslexia can have far-reaching effects on behaviour. The associated behavioural stresses in turn will affect ocular, systemic

If a programme is planned using Eye Plan it can be made easy for parents to manage and can support what help the NHS is able to provide. This allows time to be charged properly to reward new skills and ability. Schoolvision is recession proof – that’s what one practitioner said recently and Schoolvision director Mark Houlford agrees, that this is exactly what he has experienced in his practices.

Changing the future If you become a Schoolvision practitioner the feedback from colleagues who have done so, such as “A revelation on how we can help those disadvantaged children”, suggest that it will change the way you think about presenting signs and symptoms. Those children whom you treat will benefit enormously; their parents’ emotions on seeing their child progress range from delight to relief to being overcome! It is not unrealistic to suggest that curing dyslexia will have a significant impact on society. • Geraint Griffiths is a College Examiner, College Councillor for the East Midlands region and chair of the Association of Sport and Schoolvision Practitioners. 1 (reported in the Daily Mail 14.12.05)


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of visual deficit and native wit. It is therefore no wonder an Ofsted report revealed that 43% of 11 year-olds failed to reach the required standard for reading, writing and arithmetic1.

The exciting possibilities open to optometrists to use this new information led to the development of the Diploma in Schoolvision Practice (containing over 20 hours of GOC-accredited lectures and workshops), which aims to bring together the work of the AOP-backed Children’s Eye Care Initiative with the research findings produced by Sportvision and Schoolvision. Schoolvision delegates learn the simple conclusion of the Moreton study – dyslexia is due to a deficit in binocular function at the near point. By correcting this with spectacles or contact lenses or both, the reading difficulty is removed. This is what members of the Association of Sport and Schoolvision Practitioners are beginning to find in their own practices. When this becomes understood by their PCTs the situation regarding GOS exams and vouchers for children with reading difficulties may change radically. For anyone in the fields of optometry, dispensing or manufacturing optics the possibilities are very exciting. We have the means to cure dyslexia with a commercial return from prescribing spectacles and contact lenses that will reward the effort. The principles that underpin Schoolvision and Sportvision apply to all occupations and give a better scientific understanding of the relationship between vision and occupation. It would not be overstating the case to say the future of vision care is in our own hands.

CommerCial feature

Changing lives 25/03/11 Children’s Vision supplement


For optometrist Reena Kakkad one of the highlights of being an eye care professional is seeing the many positive changes in her young patients when they start to use contact lenses. Take Rose for example. When she first came to Reena’s practice, ‘Keena Rakkado, The Opticians’, she had been treated by Moorfields Eye Hospital for strabismus and had been seeing an orthoptist regularly but had now been discharged from their care. Rose was eight-yearsold when Ms Kakkad first met her; she wore glasses as part of her strabismus treatment and had come with her parents to ask about the possibility of trying contact lenses. Rose was so shy she could barely look at Ms Kakkad and her staff, let alone talk to

“it’s dealing with children like rose that make this such a wonderful job”

anyone. Rose’s parents explained that they were very worried about their daughter because she was losing confidence and becoming increasingly reserved. They explained that she was being picked on at school for wearing glasses but worse, when she took her glasses off for games and sport, her eye converged slightly and the teasing intensified. Rose’s parents had approached their local practice about the possibility of Rose trying contact lenses. sadly they were refused due to her age. Undeterred they heard about Ms Kakkad and brought Rose along for a consultation. It was clear to Ms Kakkad that the parents were very keen for their daughter to wear contact lenses because, of course, they wanted the teasing and bullying to stop and for Rose’s school life to improve. “It’s fantastic when parents are so

supportive with their children wearing contact lenses but the child also needs to be absolutely onboard with it,” explained Ms Kakkad. and so her first action was to spend time talking to Rose about her life with glasses, find out what she wanted and assess how responsible she felt Rose would be with applying, removing and looking after contact lenses. Following the consultation it was clear that here was a little girl who, although painfully shy, was very keen and fully committed to being free from her glasses and trying contact lenses. Ms Kakkad started with a contact lens teaching session to thoroughly check her confidence and handling technique. when she first tried the contact lenses during the teaching session Rose was delighted with her vision. once she had the correct prescription her parents saw an incredible change in their daughter. Her

Supporting practitioners in changing lives CIBA Vision is committed to supporting practitioners to promote contact lenses to young people through the Fit for Life campaign. Fit for Life was launched last year and is designed to help practitioners fit more young wearers with contact lenses and retain them


for life. This is an ongoing campaign, which comprises educational symposia designed to provide practitioners with the clinical skills to confidently fit young people as well as marketing them. All the resources can be found at:

Contact lenses • Improve how young people feel about their appearance1 • Improve confidence at school1 • Improve ability to participate in sports and activities1

“The change in children when they wear contact lenses is remarkable; it’s life changing for them and immensely satisfying for us as practitioners.” Chaaban Zeidan, optometrist, The Zeidan Eyecare Centre, Tamworth Walline JJ et al. ‘Optometry & vision science’,


2006; 83

confidence improved dramatically, the other parents at her school noticed that she would say hello to them, her teachers noticed that rather than “hiding in a corner” she began to join in lessons more, furthermore her schoolwork improved. Practice staff has also noticed a huge change in Rose; the shy, reserved little girl has become a bright, happy, bubbly child. “It’s dealing with children like Rose that make this such a wonderful job,” commented Ms Kakkad. Her staff have a lot of experience with children through their work with local schools. The practice also works with a number of local schools that cater for children with behavioural problems. and it is this aspect of her job that Ms Kakkad feels so passionately: “It’s about feeling fulfilled and that you are giving back. It’s also about

“it’s fantastic when parents are so supportive with their children wearing contact lenses but the child also needs to be absolutely onboard” supporting our local community,” she explained. Her passion for her job and her success in dealing with her young patients is evident in the many letters she has received from her young patients’ parents. “It’s wonderful to receive these letters of course,” she said, “but seeing the changes in the children, the confidence they gain and the improvements in their lives from wearing contacts lenses is what gives us all a tremendous boost and is what our job is all about.” CIBa Vision is passionate about supporting eye care practitioners in providing this kind of exceptional service to their patients. For Keena Rakkado, The opticians, the provision of practitioner and patient educational tools and resources from the company is invaluable. “I always look forward attending CIBa Vision educational programmes such as the Roadshows and the Management and Business academy programmes (MBas). The CIBa Vision Teens Campaign materials have been some of the best that I have seen,” explained Ms Kakkad. “Because they not only help me in my business but most importantly help my patients. It’s by working together that we will be able to change the lives of a lot more young people,” she concluded.

Did you know that … Children as young as eight can successfully wear contact lenses.1

Did you know that … New research shows that nearly one-in-five (18%)2 of young people do not wear their prescribed glasses.2

Did you know that … The Medical Officers of Schools Association say: “Whenever possible, pupils should use soft contact lenses to correct vision during sport.” “In sports involving direct contact (e.g. rugby, football and martial arts) only soft lenses or nothing are acceptable.”

A comprehensive range of professional tools and resources to help you attract more young people into contact lenses are available at Walline, J.J. Daily Disposable Contact Lens Wear in


Myopic Children. Optom Vis Sci 81:(4) 255-259 2

Survey of the attitudes of school-aged children

to eye care in the UK. D Thomson, 2004, City University, London

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tools to help promote contact lenses to


Multi-media kids

Words and pictures

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By Karen sparrow, Aop education adviser The world of technology isn’t just evolving – it is moving at light speed. So can our kids keep up and is it good for them? A cartoon dVd can be a lifesaver for a busy mum but how much is too much and what should we advise parents asking whether this electronic media is harming their children’s eyes? A recent survey by Child wise of 2,445 British children¹ suggests that children watch more than two and a half hours of TV a day plus nearly two hours online or playing computer games. This amounts to 2,000 hours a year – more than twice the number of hours they spend in school and considerably more time than they spend with their parents. Two in three children over five have their own computer (62%) and nearly half have internet access in their own room (46%). Add to that the 62% of children who have a TV in their bedroom and 97% of over 11’s who have a mobile phone (and don’t think the younger age group are any less connected as 70% of five-16-year-olds have a mobile). The poll suggests two thirds (65%) of children go online most days and children across the UK together spend 13 million hours on websites every day.

Children can now watch TV, whilst listening to their iPod, gaming and texting on their phone. Their ability to multi-task when it comes to electronics actually raises their exposure to nearly 11 hours a day, according to a long running US report². And then there are ever more complex and dynamic viewing experiences being developed for us and our children to enjoy.

similar concerns. Sony, Samsung, lG and other manufacturers have also released health and safety guidance with their 3d TVs4. The short-term effects of watching 3d are the same for adults and children, including headaches and double vision. however, children’s eyesight is developing rapidly from birth, reaching natural emmetropisation

“Children need a clear, sharp image in each eye in order for their vision to develop properly ” Nintendo joined the 3d market with their long-awaited new handheld 3dS gaming console, launched at a prestigious event in Amsterdam in January. however, aside from the glitz and enthusiastic gamers awaiting the UK’s March launch, Nintendo has also issued a health warning with the new handheld console (now available on the UK website³) that advises parents to turn off the 3d effect for children under six-years-old. This concern is not unique to the Nintendo 3dS as watching 3d images through other means, such as at the cinema or on a 3d television, could give rise to

around the age of five or six, although new research shows that children’s eyesight can remain flexible beyond this, so use of 3d technology under the age of six should be monitored carefully. Children need a clear, sharp image in each eye in order for their vision to develop properly. If anything upsets that balance (natural or artificial) it could affect their visual development. The close proximity of a hand held device, like the Nintendo 3dS, could place more stress on eyesight than looking at a television, through accommodation and convergence, and it is more likely to

References Generation M²: Media in the Life of 8 to 18 year olds, A report by The Kaiser Foundation, January 2010 3 4 5 Early Childhood Computer Experience and Cognitive and Motor Development. Xiaoming Li, PhD, Melissa S. Atkins, PhD. PEDIATRICS Vol. 113 No. 6 June 2004, pp. 1715-1722 6 7 Computer Vision Syndrome: A Review. Blehm C, Vishnu S, Khattak A, Mitra S, Yee RW. Surv Ophthalmol. 2005 May-Jun;50(3):253-62. Review. 1 2


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be used by children for longer periods, so it is recommended that parents of young children switch off or restrict the 3d mode. The bonus of 3d technology is that it could highlight problems parents would otherwise miss. If a child cannot see in 3d it is a prompt to get their eyes tested to rule out any underlying vision problems, such as amblyopia, uncorrected refractive error or convergence insufficiency. At this stage the jury is out regarding links between progressive myopia and excessive close work. however it isn’t all bad news: research in the US suggests computer use among pre-school children may actually make them ‘school ready’. In one study of 122 pre-schoolers enrolled in a rural head Start Program5, children in the experimental group worked on a computer for 15-20 minutes per day with their choice of developmentally appropriate educational software, while children in the control (noncomputer) group received a standard head Start curriculum. The children who worked on a computer performed better on measures of school readiness and cognitive development than the children without computers. The findings in the study support early computer exposure before the preschool years to help develop pre-school skills among young children. however, interestingly, using a computer for longer periods or having access to electronic or video games didn’t show the same relationship. The National Association for the education of Young Children (NAeYC)6 in the US, focussing on standards of excellence for

same precautions we apply to adult VdU users may reduce a young child’s risk of fatigue-related eye strain, computer vision syndrome7 and computer ergonomics problems. Similarly to adults using computer screens at work, a sensible regime would be to have a break of five minutes after an hour’s use, or even the 20-10 rule (10 seconds rest every 20 minutes). A ‘neutral’ sitting position is important with a straight back and relaxed shoulders, lower arms supported on the desk and feet flat on the floor, with the knees at a 90 degree angle or more – so no legs tucked children up to the age of eight, makes specific under the chair. recommendations about computer use and what is important is that parents get young children: their children’s eyes checked before they • Computers should supplement, not start school at three or four-years-old, as replace, educational activities such as art, recommended by the Government’s 4th books, music, outdoor exploration, dramatic hall report. Also they should bring their play and socialising. children to have their eyes tested if they can’t • Parents should guide children’s use of see the 3d effect or are experiencing any computers. other visual symptoms or headaches, and • Children should be encouraged to work then have regular checks as advised by the with a sibling or friend at the computer optometrist. whenever possible. Using computers with As 3d technology has only recently hit the others encourages important social skills. high Street in mass-consumer formats and • Parents should learn more about software electronic media is becoming ever more for young children, and carefully preview the affordable, there is much more to be learned software their child uses. about the effects long-term exposure has As with anything else, children should not on vision and what discomforts or changes use electronic media to excess. Children need might occur. There is little scientific research to develop social, motor and communication currently available and it may be years before we have significant data from large skills and this is best achieved by a diverse cohorts of users. In the meantime an eye range of activities. To balance getting the examination at an early age is a wise and best educational experience by becoming recommended move. familiar with computers at an early age, the

CommerCiAl feAture

Children should be protected from uV With summer fast approaching, Dr Julie Diem Le, director of Zoobug underlines importance of UV eye protection for children

CHILDREN’S EyES are delicate, their sight is still developing and so need greater care and protection from UV light than adults. Sadly, this message is not well known and so children are still walking around with inadequate eye protection even though their parents are fully covered up. We are great at protecting their skin and now just need to remember their eyes in light of recent studies linking UV radiation to eye cancer. Children’s eyes, if exposed to the sun’s rays without protection are at greater risk from sunburn, or a condition known as photokeratitis, where the cornea becomes temporarily ‘burnt’ by ultraviolet UVB rays. Although the condition is temporary, it can lead to blurring of vision, and much distress to young children, it requires urgent medical attention. Whilst parents tend to be well informed about the dangers of burning the skin, and the importance of using high SPF


es in addition offer protection to international standards; US (ANSI Z80.3:2001) and Australian (AS/NZS 1067:2003) to allow the wearer the right protection for that part of the world, where the ozone layer has been depleted. Finally, while the protection in the lenses is fundamental, the design of the frame is also crucial for children, so that they feel comfortable wearing their sunglasses for long periods of the day if necessary. There is nothing worse than an ill-fitting pair of sunglasses that

“Whilst parents tend to be well informed about the dangers of burning the skin, their child’s eyes can easily be forgotten about” are being made a compulsory part of every child’s school uniform and incorporated into the Slip-Slap-Slop and Wrap a pair of sunglasses campaign. In the UK, the majority of children’s sunglasses meet the UK standard BE EN 1836:2005 which means that the lenses block up to 99.99% of harmful UV light and are, therefore, of a same quality to those used in standard adult sunglasses. Some sunglass-

rubs on the skin and around the ears or nose. The frame should cover the complete eye area and sit comfortably on the nose, without touching the cheeks. Adjustable nose bridges and side arms and a sports headband will help keep the frame on the face of even the most active child. A perfect fit for kids is absolutely essential to make wearing sunglasses enjoyable and a part of everyday life!

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sun blocks for children, their eyes can easily be forgotten about. In fact, children’s eyes are at greater risk than adults in the sun because the UV filtering mechanism within the young human lens is not yet fully developed. They are ultra sensitive to both UV and blue light. And, by the age of 18, children would have already been exposed to more than half of their total lifetime exposure. The damage starts early and is cumulative. In a recent piece of research conducted by the University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, published in 2009 in the medical journal Ophthalmology, it was concluded that there is an etiologic synergism between light iris colour and the exposure of UV radiation. People with light iris colour may have an especially increased risk for uveal melanoma if they are exposed to UV radiation. In addition to this there has been well documented evidence-based studies of a link between UV light overexposure and other serious sight threatening conditions like cataract and macular degeneration. Australia has always led the way in understanding the importance of protecting young eyes, given its incredible climate. The evidence is so compelling that sunglasses

Diploma in


DUBLIN 29-31 May Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel LONDON 19-21 June Harpenden House Hotel

Children's Vision Supplement  

Children's Vision Supplement 2011 Optometry Today