With kids already back in school, it’s easy to get lost in the excitement. We’re buying new clothes, backpacks, books and school supplies to make sure our kids are completely prepared for school. However what often slips the minds of many parents is the importance of an annual eye exam!
Did you know that 80% of a child’s learning in school is done visually? Eye and vision health affect every child’s learning. In fact, many perceived learning disabilities, attention issues and behavioural problems are often vision problems in disguise. Undiagnosed vision problems can affect a child’s performance not only in the classroom, but also in sports and can cause your child to struggle both academically and socially.
But aren’t vision screenings at school good enough?
This is a question we hear a lot. Unfortunately vision screenings performed by a school nurse or by your child’s pediatrician is not equivalent to a comprehensive eye exam. These vision screenings are designed to alert parents to the possibility of a potential vision problem. However they should not replace a proper visit to an eye doctor. Vision screenings are helpful, but they can, and often do, miss serious vision-related problems that an eye doctor would catch.
Because eye exams for children are so important, OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) covers a yearly comprehensive eye exam for every child in Ontario. Experts recommend having an infant’s first eye exam between 6 and 9 months of age and then yearly afterwards in order to ensure proper development and optimal learning. There are many objective measurements that allow us to check the vision and health of your child’s eyes. They do not need to be able to communicate with us during the exam.
So this year when you’re checking off all the things you need to get your kids while they’re back in school, make sure you have them visit the eye doctor!