Miss Valldeflors Viñuela-Navarro
Research Topics and Related Projects:
The examination of eye movements in optometric patients concentrates on identifying misalignments of gaze (eye turns and squints) rather than on assessing the quality of eye movements. Yet, increasingly, children are being referred to eye care professionals with suspected eye movement disorders. Currently, there are no guidelines for the clinical techniques used to examine eye movements or for describing and/or quantifying any anomalies observed.
Furthermore, some practitioners claim an association between reading and/or learning difficulties and eye movements, and that vision therapy aimed at improving eye movements can benefit learning. This association has recently been disputed but remains unclear.
With this lack of agreement within the literature and in the absence of guidelines no guidelines for the examination of eye movements in optometric practice, there is the risk that some children with specific, functionally important eye movements disorders are unrecognised, undiagnosed and consequently not receiving any support. In addition, there is also the risk that children whose eye movements are within the normal range for their age may be misdiagnosed with eye movement anomalies, when in fact their difficulties are not connected to their oculomotor abilities.
My recent work focuses on establishing normative values for eye movements in school age children using the latest non-invasive eye tracking technology. Once norms are established, my aims are to study eye movements in children with suspected eye movement disorders, delayed reading skills and/or learning difficulties.
The outcome will be a better understanding of the existence and characteristics of eye movement disorders/difficulties and their connection, if any, to learning difficulties. In time, we intend to provide guidelines for optometrists for the clinical examination of eye movements in children.
UK College of Optometrists Postgraduate Scholarship.