When was the last time your children had their eyes checked? As a parent, I’ve been taking my girls to see the eye doctor (officially known as a Doctor of Optometry) since the age of three. I got glasses when I was eight, and wanted to make sure that we don’t miss any developing problems my kids may have.

As a teacher, I also see (no pun intended) a huge importance in this annual exam for kids. If students can’t see the front of the room, or the words in the book in front of them, how can we expect them to learn? It’s true that undiagnosed vision problems can affect your child’s ability to reach their full potential. I’ve seen attention and behaviour difficulties which ended up being the result of the fact that the poor kids couldn’t see properly.

According to Doctors of Optometry Canada, 1 in 4 school-age children has a vision problem, and since 80% of learning is obtained through vision, an eye exam is vitally important for your child’s education…which makes the start of the school year the perfect time to book your appointment. Check out this video from a Doctor of Optometry on vision and problems at school:

While your family doctor may perform a simple sight test, or a screening may be done at school, it’s still important to have a comprehensive eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry to identify any potential problems that might exist, with vision or eye health.
It is recommended that infants have their first eye exam between six and nine months of age. Children should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and then every year after starting school. My girls just had their annual exam, and they were very excited to model for you what you can expect – and are hoping that you will show your children! They also want other kids to know that there’s no discomfort whatsoever with the exam. (Okay, maybe they didn’t use the words “discomfort” or “whatsoever”, but they want kids to know it doesn’t hurt at all!)

Remember my daughters are six and eight; the steps will be different for very young children and may vary by doctor.

Getting a picture taken of your eyes

Waiting in the doctor’s office
Covering one eye with a “spoon” and reading some letters on the wall

Reading letters (or naming pictures, e.g. cake, bird) close-up on a card

Pointing at some pictures (testing depth-perception)
Looking through a neat machine – like a HUGE set of glasses

Putting your chin and forehead in special spots on a machine
 so the doctor can look at your eyes REALLY closely

Posing with the amazing optometrist, Dr. Kwiat
(Thanks for letting us take pictures in your office!)
This was actually a very exciting exam for Frannie as she learned that the time has come for glasses, and we spent some time after the appointment trying on frames. I’ll be sharing a picture of her chosen pair in the future.
The Doctors of Optometry Canada website offers additional information, including great tips for what to expect in terms of eye health and vision at different phases of childhood, and symptoms that may indicate a problem.

It’s also important to note that you don’t need a referral to book an appointment. Simply use the the Find a Doctor tool to locate a Doctor of Optometry near you.

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Doctors of Optometry Canada, however the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit http://doctorsofoptometry.ca/.

2 comments on “To Do: Get Your Kids’ Eyes Checked!”

  1. Since a good friend told me she hadn't realized there were different shades of green leaves in trees until she got glasses at age 12, I have made it a priority for annual eye exams for my children since infancy, it helps that OHIP covers annual eye exams for children under age 18.

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