School Eyes

Reporter: David Richardson

There's a hidden epidemic sweeping Australian classrooms. More than 1 million school kids, from kindergarten to year 12 are suffering. Many don't even realize they have a problem with their eyes.

It's so bad that 6 kids in every classroom across the country is believed to have undiagnosed visual problems. Optometrist Russel Lazarus has spent 7 years working with school children's eye problems. He's now discovered a list of visual weaknesses called the "Secret 7".

1) Eye Tracking

2) Eye Focusing

3) Convergence

4) Lazy Eye

5) Word scanning

6) Visual memory

7) Reading fluency

These 7 conditions mean kids see their school work blurred, doubled and they can't focus, concentrate and it can lead to massive behavioral problems. In some cases this is diagnosed as ADD or ADHD because the symptoms are exactly the same. It has also led to glasses being over prescribed.

Once diagnosed with an eye muscle problem specialists can use a combination of video games and 3-D technology to strengthen the eyes. It's like a gym workout for the muscles controlling vision. Kids are meant to do 8 to 10 minutes a day, five days a week working with the 3-D games programs on their home computers. They are then assessed in weekly or fortnightly check-ups with their specialists. Improvements can be seen in weeks.

Some children will still need glasses for long or short sightedness or dyslexia even astigmytism but these tests are now redefining the causes of classroom problems, identifying that hidden epidemic.



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