Promoting development and independence in children with low vision and blindness
We work closely with all those who provide care for children with low vision and blindness: qualified teachers for visually impaired students (QTVI), social care officers, and charities.
New technologies such as mobile phones, desktop and tablet computers are used by people with and without vision impairment. For the sight-impaired, they can improve access to text and to communication with the world. We have systematically reviewed the published literature on optical low vision aids and assistive technologies for reading, and have identified the need for an independent evaluation of these technologies. Funded by the British Council for the Prevention of Blindness, we will soon start the first pilot trial of tablet computers compared with standard optical low-vision aids worldwide, and will explore the impact modern technologies can have on young people’s reading and education. This trial (CREATE: Children Learning with Electronic Assistance to Educate) will recruit participants in London, Bedford and Hyderabad, India (led by Dr Vijaya Gothwal).
Assessing vision in children with sight impairment, including those with complex needs
Children with neuro-disability, particularly those who suffered bleeding inside the brain around the time of birth, have a high risk of having visual deficits. There is a great need for information about what a child can and cannot see, yet existing tests are often not accessible to children because they require a significant degree of co-operation with testing devices.
New technologies such as Saccadic Vector Optokinetic Perimetry (SVOP, i2eye diagnostics ltd) aim to reduce the need for interaction with devices. SVOP uses the natural eye movement response to moving targets to build a map of a person’s peripheral visual field. Funded by the Newlife Foundation for children with neuro-disability and by Moorfields Special Trustees (now ‘Moorfields Eye Charity’), Dr Dahlmann-Noor and her team have evaluated the first commercially available SVOP device. Our findings have contributed to improvements of this technology and an updated version will soon become available.