Every year, thousands of children start school in Ontario but only 15% of them have ever had a comprehensive eye exam with their optometrists. Parents often believe that their children would let them know if they cannot see well. This usually isn’t the case. Children are rarely able to identify their poor vision because they have nothing to compare it to.
That is why the Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that every child have their first eye exam at 6 months old, followed by another at 2-3 years of age, and then every year moving forward. OHIP covers yearly eye exam from children ages 0-19 years.
Why are eye exams for children important?
An eye exam with your optometrist is the only way comprehensive check of your child’s eye health and vision. Many eye health problems can be treated if they are caught early. If detected and treated early, lazy eye can be completely corrected!
Did you know that 80% of learning in the first 12 years of our lives is done visually? Children who can’t see the board, or the words on the pages may struggle to reach their full potential in school. Bad vision can also impact hand-eye coordination and even social development.
Did you know?
- 3/4 of Ontario parents are unaware that vision problems can cause speech difficulties.
- 2/3 are unaware that poor eyesight can lead to development delays
- 1/2 do not realize that vision problems may cause short attention spans in children.
Undetected and untreated vision problems can cause the same symptoms as are commonly associated to ADHA, dyslexia, and speech problems.
Comprehensive eye exams vs. vision screening
Vision screenings are not the same as a comprehensive eye health exam. A vision screening does not assess the entire visual system, including the health of a child’s eyes, so many vision problems can be missed.
A comprehensive eye exam includes;
- A review of your child’s health and vision history
- Tests for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, colour vision, amblyopia (lazy eye), crossed eyes, eye coordination, depth perception, and focusing ability
- An eye health examination
Does my child have a vision problem?
There is only one way to tell if your child has good eye health and vision: by having a yearly comprehensive eye exam. Book an exam with your optometrist today. A child’s comprehensive eye exam only takes 15-30 minutes, book one today!