The College of Optometrists

Examining patients with specific learning difficulties

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Sub-sections

Key points

  • You should explore visual problems by means of a thorough eye examination.
  • You should use tests that are appropriate to the patient’s needs.
  • You should tell the patient that there is currently no strong evidence that tinted lenses are effective in improving visual function in patients with specific learning difficulties. However, optometrists who practise in this area report that some patients find them helpful.
A95
This guidance does not change what you must do under the law.

What specific learning difficulties are and how they affect patients

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Specific learning difficulties affect how people learn and process information. They can include dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder.35

Principles of examining patients with specific learning difficulties

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You should ensure you have the necessary training in the techniques required to examine patients with these difficulties.
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Patients with specific learning difficulties may have conventional visual or orthoptic problems that require treatment. You should explore visual problems by means of a thorough eye examination.
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You should carry out all tests necessary to satisfy yourself of the appropriateness of any intervention prescribed.

Tinted lenses

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There is currently no strong evidence that tinted lenses are effective in improving visual function in patients with specific learning difficulties.36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 However, optometrists who practise in this area report that some patients find these interventions helpful.
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You should explain this to the patient because interventions carry a cost in terms of expense, time, and raised expectations, and parents and patients might be vulnerable to the suggestion that any intervention may help.

See Honesty and integrity section.

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