Cerium will host visual stress panel discussion at 100% Optical

Practitioners share how they have engaged with schools on the issue of visual stress

Guidance group
Cerium will host a panel discussion on how practitioners can assess and manage visual stress at 100% Optical on 25–27 January 2020.

The session, When a routine eye exam does not help, will explore the current viewpoint on colour therapy and the impact of colour therapy on the rate of reading on Sunday 26 January on the Main Stage at 4pm.

It will be chaired by Ian Abbott, lead professional for cognition and learning at Wiltshire Council, and feature three speakers: Rupal Lovell-Patel, academic lead for vision sciences at the University of Central Lancashire; Dr Nadia Northway, orthoptist and lead at a specialist clinic for reading and visual stress at Glasgow Caledonian University; and Paul Adler, optometrist, clinical teacher and researcher.

Speaking about the session, Ms Lovell-Patel, said: “There are increasing numbers of patients coming in for eye exams where the optometric interventions are not able to alleviate their symptoms. Having an understanding of what additional investigation and management options are available for patients in a primary care setting can improve the care practitioners provide.”

Educating the educators

In December 2018, a guidance group was formed for the use of precision tinted lenses and identification of visual stress.

The group’s members have created links with schools to test children who have learning difficulties and have prescribed precision tinted lenses where appropriate.

Optometrist and managing director of Melina Joy Opticians in Heathfield, Kent, Melina Joy, shared that not all schools can or want to afford learning assessments for children.

“There are many children out there who have visual stress and no other condition for whom overlay and precision tinted lenses have made a huge difference. These are the children who most benefit. Many of these parents in my area will only wait so long for the school to do it then they self-fund, which is an expensive affair if there are two or three children in the family with learning difficulties,” she said.

In Ealing Broadway, London optometrist Joy Hynes at Hynes Optometrists explained that after purchasing a colourimeter six years ago, she wrote to local schools and told them about the clinic they had set up.

“I ran workshops in the practice that the schools’ special education needs coordinator (SENCO) were invited too. This gave them an opportunity to meet me and get more information. Word spread gradually and I am now receiving more referrals from SENCOs,” she said.

Benji Silverman, a dispensing optician at Village Optician in Prestwich, Manchester, said that the information and advice given to parents by schools differs greatly.

“Many parents are not aware that their child’s vision should be tested annually. Some schools are very keen to work with us and we have developed good relationships that ultimately benefits the pupils,” he explained.

However, he added that when the practice has tried to engage with primary and secondary schools in the area, it has had mixed success.

“We have arranged open evenings and invited SENCOs from all local schools to learn more about colorimetry and the impact vision can have on children achieving their potential. Disappointingly, the turnout was poor. On the bright side, the schools that did attend were very enthusiastic and as a result we have had some fantastic success stories,” he added.