How do people who can’t read get eye exams?

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Eye Exam for people who cant read

Eye Exams at Windsor Eye Care & Vision Center

While most people typically think of reading words and letters as a quintessential part of the eye exam process, a combination of creative and technological innovation allows optometrists to check the eyes of people who struggle to read, like people who might be literacy challenged, people whose first language isn’t English, or children.

Testing Vision in Young Children

It’s well documented that children are incredibly adaptive, and as a result, could experience significant vision loss that would go undetected without medical intervention. For children who aren’t able to read or identify letters, optometrists use retinoscopy – looking into the eye to see how and where a retinoscope’s beam of light goes – to identify nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Optometrists also ask children to do the same thing that adults do: follow a penlight with their eyes without moving their head, which helps optometrists check for both pupil response and the absence of nervous system issues. Finally, children may be asked to take the “animal test,” where they’re asked to identify animals like birds or horses.

Testing Vision of Literacy-Challenged Adults

The benefit to testing and checking the eyesight of adults is that they’re able to sit still and follow instructions better than young children. Optometrists can employ a wide variety of tools and technologies to verify the quality of adult vision.

Autorefractors are tools that use computer technology to measure refractive errors based on how the eyes focus at certain focal points. This technology is a great way to check an eye for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism without requiring an adult to read.

Many optometrists also employ the Landolt C test to measure vision response. In the Landolt C test, optometrists present patients with different rings that look like the letter C and the patients to the direction of the opening of the ring. Since the test isn’t reliant on someone reading a letter, it’s often used in place of the standard Snellen eye chart (the series of letters arranged in lines that decrease in size from top to bottom).

Can You Test the Vision of Unresponsive Patients?

Measuring the vision of someone who might not be able to respond, either verbally or with gestures like pointing, is a bit more difficult. While it wouldn’t be anything like the level of assessment a typical eye exam could measure, it is possible to assess vision in patients who are unresponsive, or even comatose. In this case, an ophthalmologist sees how the eye reflexively responds to stimuli.

Contact Windsor Eye Care & Vision Center

At Windsor Eye Care & Vision Center, we believe that everyone is entitled to an eye exam that gives them a comprehensive overview of their eye health. If your child, family member, friend or patient can’t read, or struggles to read, just let us know prior to your appointment. We will do everything we can to ensure they feel comfortable and safe during their exam. Contact Windsor Eye Care & Vision Center to schedule an eye exam.

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