Children see benefit of special eye tests

Joanna Williams, who works for local optical group Wardale Williams, with branches in Halstead, Haverhill and Sudbury, visited St Andrew's School in Great Yeldham and carried out coloured overlay assessments on a number of children. ANL-161031-141846001
Joanna Williams, who works for local optical group Wardale Williams, with branches in Halstead, Haverhill and Sudbury, visited St Andrew's School in Great Yeldham and carried out coloured overlay assessments on a number of children. ANL-161031-141846001

Children from St Andrew’s primary school in Great Yeldham are seeing the benefit of a visit by an optometrist, a health care specialist trained to examine defects in vision.

Joanna Williams specialises in reading difficulties and, after a recent visit to the school, she was able to help four children achieve a marked improvement in their reading.

The children, aged six to 10, were assessed by Joanna to see if they would benefit from tinted glasses which help when reading.

Senior optometrist Joanna works for optical group Wardale Williams, which has branches in Sudbury in Gainsborough Street, and also in Halstead and Haverhill.

She specialises in reading difficulties and colorimetry.

Colorimetry is an assessment for the symptoms of visual stress, which can be found in some children making reading very difficult.

The process begins with coloured overlay assessments, which indicates whether or not a child would benefit from tinted glasses.

She said: “Some children struggle to read at expected levels as they experience peculiar visual symptoms when looking at a printed page; this is known as visual stress.

“However, scientific research has shown symptoms of visual stress can be reduced with colour.

“For some children the words become clearer when coloured overlays are placed over the page.”

She added: “If this is the case, the specific coloured overlay should be used for all reading tasks and the child may also benefit from tinted glasses which can be used for reading, writing and whiteboard work.”

“I gave overlay assessments to nine pupils at St Andrew’s, and four of them showed a marked improvement in their reading.”

Speaking after the visit, St Andrew’s special educational needs coordinator Karen Graves, said: “We appreciate Joanna visiting the school to assess some of our pupils. It will be interesting to see how the coloured overlays make a difference to their reading.”