Children often don’t know how to describe their vision changes, and they may not even be aware that their vision is compromised. This makes regular eye exams very important for detecting vision-related problems.
According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, over 25 percent of school-age children experience vision problems. For children six years of age and younger, only 14 percent receive these exams.
In order to help ensure that your child sees correctly, schedule regular appointments with our clinic. Better vision can aid in coordination, sensory processing and even in school performance.
As children move through various developmental phases, proper vision can help them succeed in each stage. Vision aids with language skills and fine and gross motor skills. In fact, 80 percent of learned information comes through sight. Children use eyesight to create building blocks for increased learning and developmental skills. Copying, reading, retaining focus and group involvement are all aided by proper vision.
While some children may need to see an Optometrist more regularly, most children should receive annual checkups. Children can receive eye exams as early as six-months-old. Once you set up your first appointment with our licensed Optometrist, their results will indicate whether you should bring your child in more than once a year.
Your child’s vision will begin to develop immediately after birth, and vision changes often occur quickly. If we discover any vision problems, we can address them in a timely manner and make necessary adjustments and recommendations.
When these problems are addressed early, your child is more likely to continue to develop and grow at a healthy pace. Vision tests check side vision, far and close up vision, focus and hand-and-eye coordination. Children use these skills every day as they process information.
Each child’s needs may be different, and only an Optometrist can determine how frequent an individual child should be seen. However, the CAO has published a helpful guide that provides estimates for children with low risk.
It is important for children to receive regular eye exams in order to detect vision problems. OHIP covers basic eye exams for Ontario children under the age of 20 years.
Comprehensive eye exams are important for maintaining children’s visual and motor development. The following tests are part of a child’s first eye exam, while some are conducted at future exams as well.
This test measures the sharpness of your child’s vision, and is conducted using a snellen eye chart. The Ishihara Test checks your child’s eyes for colour blindness. This test is usually only conducted during the initial exam. Colour blindness acquired later in life can be related to other health problems, so it is important to schedule an exam right away if your child is experiencing this symptom.
The refraction test allows our Optometrist to determine your child’s exact eyeglass prescription. They will use an instrument called a phoropter, which has a series of different lenses. They will ask your child which lenses seem clearer as he places different ones in front of your child’s eye. This method enables the eye doctor to narrow down the exact prescription.
If your child wears contact lenses or would like to, let us know when you book his or her exam. Our contact lens technician can help your child learn how to apply the lenses.
For the cover test, our Optometrist will cover one of your child’s eyes and ask him or her to focus on an object from different depths. The cover test is used to detect strabismus or a subtler binocular vision problem that can cause eyestrain or lazy eye (amblyopia).
Similar to the refraction test, the autorefractor test helps the Optometrist determine the lens power required to accurately focus light in your child’s retina. This test is essential in verifying your child’s eyeglass prescription.
Our Optometrist will use eye drops to dilate your child’s pupils. This helps the eye doctor get a better look into your child’s eyes to check for diseases. The drops generally take between 20 and 30 minutes to take effect, and your child may have blurry vision for several hours afterward. It is recommended that you bring sunglasses for your child’s trip home.
This procedure is performed in a dimly let environment. The Optometrist will have your child focus on an object while he flips lenses and shines a light in your child’s eye. This test will help them determine your child’s approximate prescription, and it can be useful for children who aren’t able to accurately answer the Optometrist’s questions.
Our Optometrist will use a slit lamp instrument to shine a thin sheet of light into your child’s eye. This exam is used to diagnose a variety of eye conditions. A second handheld lens is used to examine the retina.
The visual field test is used to detect dysfunction in both central and peripheral vision. This test can also make the Optometrist aware of other medical conditions, such as glaucoma, stoke, brain tumors and other neurologic complications.