Most parents and caretakers assume that because very young children cannot read the letters on an eye chart, an eye examination is not necessary until they are in school. They also believe that the vision screening performed by a school nurse is adequate. Not true!
A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist by the age of 3 is strongly recommended; even younger, if there is any question about a child’s vision. No reading of letters required! Not only is it important to find out if each eye is seeing the world in focus, but we need to ensure that the two eyes are working together (binocular vision). Finally, an assessment of ocular health is always performed.
Some untreated eye conditions and problems can leave a permanent impairment of vision and development. By identifying a child’s vision problems early, there is a greater chance that treatment will be successful.
Annual eye examinations for children are recommended because there can be a drastic change within a short period of time, as kids grow at different rates to adulthood.
1 in 6 school-aged children experience learning difficulties which are a result of unknown or uncorrected vision conditions. Many parents and caregivers assume they will notice if their child has a vision problem. They feel that the school nurse’s screening will reveal any problems, or that the family doctor will catch any issues. They are surprised to find out that some conditions go undetected until an Optometrist does a thorough examination.
We recommend following the Canadian Association of Optometry’s guidelines for children’s health and wellness. Please note that the BC Government MSP program subsidizes eye exams for children up to age 19.
6-19 years: Annual examination
Your child doesn’t have to be able to read or identify letters! Our Optometrists examine eye teaming (binocular vision), colour vision, focusing ability and do thorough ocular health assessments in a fun and gentle way. We tailor our approach to the age and capability of the little person we are examining.
A proactive eyecare approach can have life long benefits. Studies show that eye issues like Strabismus and Amblyopia have better treatment outcomes when caught early, and motor skills of kids aged 3-5 significantly improved when appropriate corrective eyewear was worn.