Having recently had a fun half term which culminated in a family party, I then had time alone while my darling Jo had a few days away with her University friends. The time apart really did make me value the time we have together all the more.
Quality time with our patients, is something that I came to realise as important and valuable, a good few years ago now. Giving each patient our undivided attention means that we can listen and understand their eye or vision concerns. This builds trust as well as meaning we can better care for the things that really matter to our patients in their day to day lives.
One such area of personal interest to me as well any so many of our patients is reading. I am regularly told “I can read just fine thanks, all I need to do is hold the book a bit further away now.” Whether or not you feel the need for longer arms (it’s just the birthdays don’t you know), this is very easy to help with. Our tailor-made reading glasses or contact lenses are a great solution!
Our younger patients often have more fundamental reading problems. Many come to see us reporting words that move, jumble, or even hop skip and jump! The specialist assessment we carry out for our young readers shows up the underlying cause which we can usually treat very successfully.
My love of gadgets and tech has led me to investigate more advanced options for diagnosing the cause of reading difficulties - many patients are referred to our clinic with tracking problems. Diagnosing why, is the key to successful treatment. Our latest bit of kit is an eye tracker which we discreetly attach to the computer and then ask the patient to read a passage of text from the screen.
The technology is similar to that used by gamers and web designers. A harmless infra-red tracking bar watches the reflex from each eye as the patient reads. The software then displays this data as charts and images and can also replay a slow-mo video showing each eye movement that the patient made while reading. This really helps our patients understand better how they use their eyes and once treated, lets us show the improvements they have made!
This process all takes time, the initial visit can be a good three quarters of an hour (much like our extended eye exam) and then another few appointments for eye and reading training. The results though are most definitely worth the time investment. To be told by parents that their child has gone from a reluctant reader to choosing a book to read by themselves is hugely rewarding all round.
Appointments for reading vision assessments, including eye tracking, or extended eye exams can be booked by calling 0117 965 4434, via our website or you are very welcome to pop into our Fishponds practice and say Hi!
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Peter Turner is the Lead Optometrist at Turners Opticians in Bristol and also works part time as a Senior Optometrist at the Bristol Eye Hospital.