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KIDS' CORNER

Eye See…Eye Learn® Program

Eye See Eye Learn is a program in Ontario which provides glasses to Junior and Senior Kindergarten children if they are prescribed by a participating Optometrist. The eye exams are covered by OHIP, as are eye exams for any child 19 years or younger with a valid Ontario health card.

Vision accounts for roughly 80% of learning yet many parents don't know they should get their child's eyes examined before starting school. The Eye See Eye Learn program was developed to raise awareness among parents of the importance of having their children's’ eyes examined. Children who can’t see the board, focus on a picture or follow words in a book may struggle to achieve their full learning potential. Vision problems can also impact their social development and hand-eye coordination for physical activities.

Children who are born with blurry vision, due to high prescription or eye health abnormality, don’t know what “clear” vision is and wouldn’t know to complain of vision problems. Catching these problems early is key.

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Does my child really need an eye exam?

Children as young as 6 months are recommended to come in to see an optometrist. There are several factors that can cause vision problems for kids. These factors can range from complications during pregnancy, developmental conditions, and a family history of vision problems.

Signs to look for in children that may be struggling with their sight include frustration in school, behavioral problems, negative self-image, weaker performance in sports, and possible special educational needs.

What should children expect during their first exam?

During their eye exam, a child will look at a variety of targets and lights. A child does not need to give any verbal or physical responses to take part in their eye exam. Children may need to have dilating drops added to their eyes during the exam.

Why school or family doctor screenings may not be enough.

Although school and family doctor screenings may catch larger visual problems it is hard to detect binocular vision disorders or internal ocular health-related issues without the equipment you can only find with your optometrist. During an eye exam, the optometrist will look for any prescription differences that can lead to poor depth perception even if each eye individually can see very well. Also, the optometrist will do a thorough examination of the inside of the eye which may have an issue even if the patient “feels” like everything is fine as there are no pain receptors inside the eye!

Vince - EyeTech Optometry of Richmond