The information provided here is to help with understanding about specific eye conditions and to assist in determining appropriate teaching strategies for use in educational settings. This page is in development and we will continue to add main eye conditions and provide information around causes, symptoms and treatment.
The ophthalmologist is a doctor trained in the treatment of diseases of the eye. Most ophthalmologist’s perform eye surgery and have an interest or specialise in a particular part of the eye e.g. retina, cornea, eye muscles.
The BLENNZ ophthalmologist visits Homai Campus one morning a week and works with the National Assessment Service team. He will undertakes a comprehensive examination of the eyes of the akonga and offers medical and diagnostic information and advice to whānau, caregivers and teaching teams.
The optometrist is a trained professional who assesses visual function, prescribes corrective lenses (spectacles/contact lenses) and low vision aids. Optometrists who have therapeutic endorsement may also prescribe topical medicines (ointment and drops) to use in the eye when necessary.
The BLENNZ optometrist also visits Homai Campus one morning a week in conjunction with the ophthalmologist. Her role is to assess the need for glasses or low vision aids and offer advice and information to parents, caregivers and teachers.
The orthoptist specialises in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of strabismus (often called ‘squint’ or ‘lazy eye’), amblyopia and eye movement problems. They see a large number of children as strabismus and amblyopia usually need treatment during early childhood.
We currently do not have an orthoptist at BLENNZ. They are generally based within an eye department at the local District Health Board/Hospital.
An easy way to remember what an orthoptist does is: Orthoptics: Ortho = straight; Optics = eyes.
Albinism is a rare group of genetic disorders with deficiency of melanin pigment production, which causes the skin, hair or eyes to have little or no colour. It effects about 1 in 18,000 to 20,000 people in the USA and Europe.
Amblyopia is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood. It is commonly called ‘lazy eye’. Usually, only one eye is affected by amblyopia, but it is possible for both eyes to be ‘lazy’.
Aniridia refers to partial or complete absence of iris tissue in the eye. It is usually associated with poor vision due to fovea and optic nerve hypoplasia. Aniridia can be familial or sporadic.
Astigmatism occurs when cornea is curved more in one direction than in the other. The shape of the eye is more similar to a football than a rugby ball. The prevalence of astigmatism is highest in infancy and childhood. Rays focus at several points (in front and/or behind the retina). Near and distant vision is affected.
Coloboma may affect the eye structure in isolation or it can occur due to chromosomal abnormalities that involve other body structures. Coloboma can occur in conjunction with heart defects, choanal atresia, nervous system abnormalities, genital/urinary tract anomalies or ear malformations (as in CHARGE Syndrome).
The natural crystaline lens behind the pupil is largely responsible for focusing images onto the retina (tissue in the back of the eye). The natural lens should be clear and transparent. When this lens becomes cloudy it is called a cataract. This will cause permanent visual loss if it is not treated timely in children.
Hypermetropia occurs when light rays focus behind the retina because the eye is either too short or has too little focusing power. Hypermetropia causes near and distant objects to appear blurry though the distance objects are relatively less blurry.
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea (front window of the eyeball) thins and bulges into a cone-like shape.
In order to see clearly, light rays from an object must focus onto the inner back layer of the eye. The eye works like a camera. In myopic eye the focusing power of the eye is too strong where the light rays focus in front of the retina. Objects in the distance appear blurry and as they get closer to the eye, are seen more clearly.
Peter’s Anomaly refers to a congenital corneal opacity (clouding) due to iris–corneal adhesion (Type 1 Peter’s Anomaly) or lens–cornea adhesion (Type 2 Peter’s Anomaly).
Strabismus (commonly known as squints) is a visual defect in which the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions. One eye may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward or downward.