Why Children Need to See an Eye Doctor Annually
Simply put, annual eye exams are essential for children. When children are young it’s easy to not notice any possible eye sight issues because they likely don’t even notice that there is a problem, and if they’re very young, they may not be able to vocalize the issue.
As children get older, and especially as they begin going to school, it becomes imperative to do what you can to catch any vision concerns before they really start to become an issue.
Vision issues can impact everything from learning during to school to safety as they’re walking around the school yard or home from school. Getting your kids eyes checked regularly can help catch any vision problems early, ensuring they are getting the most they can out of their school experience.
Why is good vision important for school-aged kids
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Good vision is naturally important and something you want to keep on top of by getting kids eyes checked yearly. The Ontario government makes this easy by providing free yearly exams for kids until they are 19 years old, so there’s no excuse for not getting them in each year. As kids reach school age it is especially important to stay on top of any potential vision issues for many reasons:
- Poor eyesight can set a child up for behaviour issues, difficulty learning and even poor grades
- As children get older and enter grade school, much of the teaching is done on the whiteboard and in textbooks. Difficulty seeing either one of these can cause a child to disengage very quickly.
- Eye exams can catch problems that might be deeper than just basic vision issues
- The use of screens and digital devices is increasing rapidly, and such devices are more visually demanding than books and whiteboards, causing more eye strain in their day to day lives.
- Having clear vision can affect overall safety as they are going about day to day activities.
- Caught early, most eye related issues are able to be easily dealt with
- Around 80% of learning is done through visual methods
What will an eye exam detect in children?
In Ontario, the Association of Optometrists recommends that a child’s eyes should be examined at 6 months old, 3 years old and annually once they start school. These exams can help detect a multitude of potential eye problems including:
- Myopia (nearsightedness) – they can see up close clearly, but struggle with things in the distance. This interferes with work on a whiteboard
- Hyperopia (farsightedness) – meaning they can see things in the distance well, but struggle with things up close which makes book learning difficult
- Astigmatism – the eye isn’t completely round, causing blurred or distorted vision
- Lazy eye (amblyopia) – one eye tends to be weaker and lower functioning than the other. The earlier this is caught, the more likely it can be treated.
- Misalignment of eyes (cross eyes or strabismus) – can lead to double vision in adults, and amblyopia in kids)
Along with these relatively common eye sight issues, your child’s annual eye exam can diagnose problems like poor depth perception, double vision and colour blindness.
Eye exams can also detect other health concerns not related to vision like autoimmune disorders and diabetes, making getting in for a yearly check up important for more than just their eye health.
Don’t wait, schedule your child’s eye exam today!
Waiting until your child is squinting, struggling to see the board or displaying other signs of vision issues might lead to problems with their vision becoming harder to treat. Planning for regular eye exams helps to catch problems before they start, and is the best way to prevent against any issues in the future. As kids head back to school this fall, it is the perfect time to get their vision checked so they can complete the year with optimal eye health. Contact your family eye doctor to schedule your yearly exam today!