Did you know that 80% of a child’s learning is through vision? In Ontario, although 25% of school-aged children have vision problems, only 14% have an eye exam before entering Grade 1. Often, children do not realize they have blurry vision or difficulty crossing their eyes - both of which may lead to challenges in reading and poorer school performance. Only an eye doctor can examine this thoroughly.
According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, a person’s first eye exam should be at 6-9 months of age. Children should also have an eye exam before entering JK, and then annually afterwards. Although most kids will not show any signs even if they have visual issues, here are some things to look out for:
Squinting or rubbing of eyes
Moves text closer to read, or moves closer to the TV to see
Not meeting grade-level in reading or math
Skips lines/words when reading, mixes up letters, or reads backwards
Has difficulty with concentration, and is easily distracted
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers for standard eye exams annually for children aged 0-19. Our clinic also offers advanced retinal imaging to ensure the back of the eye (retina) is healthy, which is especially important for a growing child. So if you notice any of the above (or even if everything seems completely normal), we would be happy to see your child for an eye exam to make sure they are seeing well for school!
Written by: Dr. Natalia Fong
Image Credit: Santi Vedrí