We are always sure to take our kids to the pediatrician for yearly exams, we watch what they are eating, monitor their time in front of the TV, keep them warm, fed, and teach them all we can about the world. However, there is one area of your child’s health that you might be missing out on, eye health! Undiagnosed eye problems can lead to long lasting issues with learning and development so it is important to keep an eye on your kids’ eyes.
Have you noticed your little one squinting? Having difficulty reading? Moving closer to the TV or a book? These are a few signs that your child may have vision problems but guess what? 1 in 4 school-age children have eye problems, and they often have no easy- to- detect symptoms, so it’s easy to miss. Luckily, many vision issues, if caught early, can be corrected.
October is Children’s Vision Month and I wanted to take time to share some important facts with you about eye exams. While your pediatrician might do a quick routine check of your child’s eyes, it is not the same as a comprehensive eye. Taking your child for a yearly eye exam from a doctor of optometry (optometrist) is the best way to be sure that their visual system develops normally. Your child should ideally have their first eye exam between 6 to 9 months old, once between 2 and 5, then annually thereafter – most provinces in Canada offer some form of coverage for kid’s eye exams.
80% of learning is obtained through our vision- this applies to playing, socializing, and learning. Help your child reach their furthest potential by having their eyes examined by an optometrist to rule out any vision issues right at the start. My daughter needed to wear a mild prescription to help her with reading. She will probably only need to wear them for a while and we noticed a difference in her school work right away.
If your child is apprehensive about visiting a doctor of optometry, here are a few tips to help them relax:
- Explain to your child what will happen at the optometrist’s office. Click here for more information on what is involved in a child’s eye exam.
- Check out books on the subject from the library.
- Role play an exam with their dolls or stuffed animals.
- When you are in the exam room, ask the doctor to tell your child what they are doing as they do it.
Having this knowledge really helped my little girl feel more at ease and less frightened at her first eye exam. Give some of them a try with your own little one. Book an appointment today to have your child’s vision checked by a ddoctor of optometry for this school year if you haven’t already.! You can find a doctor in your area by searching here.
Be sure to enter Family Eye Health Share to WIN contest on Facebook for a chance to win a $500 gift card set ($250 VISA/$250 Chapters Indigo card) in celebration of Children’s Vision Month. Ends November 2nd, 2016 at 12 PM EST.