Back to School and Eye Exams!

Back to School and Eye Exams!

It is the last few weeks of summer, so time to think about BACK TO SCHOOL! Here is what you need to think about for your children's eyes and exams.

Good Vision: An essential tool for back to school.

Good vision dramatically improves a child’s ability to learn and acquire knowledge. Children often do not realize that they cannot see well or have trouble focusing. They feel that the way they see the world is how everyone else sees it, whether it is clear or blurry, fully or partially visible.

Back to School and Eye Exams!

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The best way to know if your child is seeing well is to have regular comprehensive eye exams every year starting at the age of 6 months.

It is good that schools are now providing our children with screenings, however they usually focus on checking very basic eye functions and this often results in many false positive and false negative results. Complete eye exams with an optometrist are very important in identifying any potential issues, and regular check ups are an essential part of maintaining children’s eye health.

It is important that the eye doctor has specialized tests for each age group (a test for a 6 month old is much different than a test for a 10 year old). Eye exams are covered under OHIP for children under the age of 20 years. Eye exams are not invasive and at Grand River Eyecare we make eye exams fun!

Back to School and Eye Exams!

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Children should also come anytime and eye infection ”pink eye” is suspected.

Some signs of vision or eye health problems in children include the following:

Back to School and Eye Exams!

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1. Eye watering

2. Excessive eye rubbing

3. Wandering eye or eyes that appear to look crossed

4. Squinting or head tilting

5. Excessive blinking

6. Holding reading material too close

7. Sensitivity to light

8. Closing one eye to read

9. Headaches or sore eyes

10. Struggling at school, not concentrating

A full eye exam includes checking vision in each eye separately, binocular vision testing to see how well the eyes work together, and ocular health testing to ensure that the eyes are healthy.

Some common vision problems in children include near sightedness (myopia), far sightedness (hyperopia), and eye shape distortion (astigmatism). There are also many common eye muscle misalignments (binocular vision problems). Glasses, contact lenses or eye muscle exercises can easily correct these problems.

Early detection of vision problems is key, especially in conditions where a child has a turned or wandering eye (strabismus) or a lazy eye (amblyopia). If detected early, these can be corrected. They are sometimes not correctable after a certain age.

When children see well, they perform better in school. The majority of learning a child does is through their eyes. Reading, writing and using a computer are intense activities and can be demanding on a child’s eyes. If the child’s eyes are not functioning properly, they become an obstacle to learning well and children with such issues may experience eyestrain and headaches.

As children grow, their eyes grow and change as well. Annual check ups are important in helping maintain good visual function and eye health.

This fall, when you are out purchasing school supplies, don’t forget that your child’s vision is the most important tool for back to school!

Aneela Gillani B.Sc., O.D.

A child's eye examination: a visit to the optometrist video