The term “special needs” encompasses a broad group of adults and children who need additional assistance with medical, psychological or mental disabilities. People with Autism, Cerebral palsy, or Down syndrome are just a few examples. Many patients with special needs also present with visual complications. Specialised eye exams are important because visual problems that are left untreated will adversely affect the development of growing children and the quality of life of children and adults alike.
Down Syndrome & Vision
Patients with Down syndrome may present with strabismus or squint, tear-duct abnormalities, keratoconus (unusually shaped cornea) and some patients even have cataracts at birth. Early intervention is crucial. Eyewear for children with Down syndrome must have specific design elements to accommodate facial features such as a low nose bridge and modified temples to keep the frame comfortable and well fitting on the nose and ears.
Cerebral Palsy & Vision
Patients with Cerebral Palsy are frequently cognitively and physically affected by the condition. Visually, blurred vision, trouble focusing, and inability to recognize faces as well as eye misalignment are common.
Autism & Vision
Vision difficulties in patients with Autism vary significantly between individuals. Focusing, eye teaming and visual-perceptual difficulties are common. In general, children with Autism find it difficult to make eye contact and recognize facial expressions.