It’s never too early to book your child’s first eye examination!
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends a child’s first eye examination at 6 months of age followed by yearly check-ups. OHIP covers annual eye examinations every 12 months for children from 0-19 years. Your child does not need to know their ABC’s, know how to talk or read to have their eyes tested. Most often children will not be aware that they are having problems with their vision because they don’t understand that their world should look any different than what they currently see.
While it can be difficult to know if your child has an undiagnosed vision problem, some things to look out for include:
- Avoidance of near or distance tasks
- Squinting or rubbing of the eyes
- Tilting of the head or unusual posture
- An eye that “wanders” or is “crossed”
- Using a finger to maintain place while reading
- Losing place while reading
- Omitting or confusing words when reading
- Performing below their potential
At school and at play strong visual development is vital to a child’s success. Routine exams make sure that your child has healthy eyes which is important for their vision development. Early detection is key to preventing or correcting visual problems. Some conditions affecting children’s vision include:
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
- Myopia or nearsightedness (blurred vision when seeing objects at a distance)
- Hyperopia or farsightedness (blurred vision when seeing objects up close)
- Astigmatism (distorted vision at all distances)
Sun Protection for Children’s Eyes
It’s never too early to protect your eyes from the sun!
The World Health Organization estimates that up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to damaging UV radiation occurs before age 18. Protecting your child now will decrease the potential for serious eye problems later in life. A good pair of sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB blocking lenses, in combination with a wide brimmed hat, protect both the skin around the eyes as well as the eyes themselves.UV damage occurring in childhood can cause premature cataract and a higher risk of macular degeneration as they get older.
Annual eye examinations are strongly recommended for children, so as they grow we can ensure both eyes are seeing well, they work well together and they are healthy.