The Canadian Association of Optometrists recently conducted a survey that showed that 61% of Canadian parents mistakenly believe they would know if their child was having difficulty with their vision. Children’s Vision Month was created to help build awareness of the need for regular optometric eye care for school age children. A child may not even be aware of or report a vision problem because they assume everyone sees the way they do.
As many as 1 in 4 school age children has a vision problem. Such problems can interfere with social and educational development and result in below-average performance.
Our doctors recommend that children have their first eye exam between 6 and 12 months of age, then annually thereafter. An optometric eye exam is considered comprehensive and cannot be replaced by a school vision screening.
We will normally dilate the pupils with a special eye drop during eye exams for very small children (under 3 yrs of age). This gives the doctor a clear picture of how well each of the eyes is likely to be seeing, and allows a thorough assessment of the inside of the eyes to check for eye disease.
Annual eye exams for children are covered under Alberta Health Care. We do recommend the optomap retina scan for kids 5 years and up, which gives a superior view of the inside of the eye, usually without the need to dilate the pupils.