Back-to-school Eye Exams
Kids need a healthy vision for proper development. During formative years, good vision is critical for exploring the world, learning, and interacting. If left undetected and untreated, eye conditions that start at a young age can result in kids with social, emotional, physical and/or intellectual development challenges.
According to AOA (American Optometric Association)¹ preschoolers (aged between 2 and 5 years) depend highly on vision to learn. Healthy vision is critical for preparing them for school, improving visual abilities gained in infancy, and developing new visual abilities. So, it’s no wonder that adding an eye exam to your back-to-school list is not only a great idea but also very beneficial for your child’s development.
Research suggests that children should go for their first eye exam at six months of age. The second eye exam should be after a year (or by age two or three). A good way to remember when to get your kid’s vision checked is at the start of the school year. You can click here to book a consultation with one of our expert optometrists at Kodak Lens Vision Centres to get this process started.
Why Are Back-to-school Eye Exams Important?
Overall well-being: Eye exams from a young age are the only way to ensure eye conditions don’t interfere with the overall well-being of your child. Ideally, kids should have regular eye exams yearly. This will ensure their vision is developing perfectly and they will be able to explore, play and engage in other extracurricular activities, which contribute to their emotional, physical, and social development.
Detecting eye conditions early: An annual eye exam for your kids can also help to uncover undiagnosed vision conditions before they become serious.
Head-start in school/learning: Learning is largely visual, so good vision health is critical for academic environments. Back-to-school eye exams can be the difference between average and stellar performance in school.
Vision and Learning
The relationship between visual health and learning has been studied extensively. There is research to show that children who have good visual skills (which allow them to better process information) will in turn have a better academic performance².
The reasons for this are simple: vision conditions come with many classroom difficulties. For instance, a learner will have problems seeing the board clearly, following along on a book, reading fluently, and comprehending what is being taught. These factors evidently affect a learner’s visual skills, reading abilities, and attention span/concentration, which ultimately contributes to poor academic development.
Signs To Look Out for in Kids
Since eye conditions can develop quickly i.e., before the yearly eye exam is due, what should you be looking out for? What signs suggest that your kid may have an eye condition? Well, here are our top 6 signs of vision impairment to look out for in your child.
- Rubbing their eyes or blinking frequently
- Avoiding reading and other close activities
- Frequent headaches
- Covering one eye to see or concentrate
- Holding objects such as reading materials close to the face
- Losing place when reading
What Goes into a Kid’s Eye Exam?
If you book a back-to-school eye exam for your kid with one of our optometrists at Kodak Lens Vision Centre you can expect a comfortable and comprehensive eye exam that tests five main vision aspects that cover most, (if not all) eye conditions known to affect kids. These aspects include:
1. Visual Acuity
Visual acuity focuses on how well a child can see. Special charts with letters and symbols of different sizes are used to perform a visual acuity test. Results are dictated by a child’s ability to identify the symbols and letters correctly.
2. Eye Muscle Control
Eye muscle control tests focus on the ability of the eyes to move together properly. The most common test is the cover test, where the child is required to cover one eye and look at a specific object. If the uncovered eye moves, this is an indication of an eye muscle control condition.
Eye control tests may include other tests for muscle-control-related vision conditions like misalignment and eye structural conditions.
3. Depth Perception
This tests the accuracy in detecting how far objects are using two different images/objects, one for each eye. Additional tests can be involved in this process.
4. Eye Coordination
As the name suggests, eye coordination is about testing a child’s ability to coordinate their eyes to perform basic movements i.e., being able to look at far or near objects, easily able to look left, right, up and down, or simple tasks such as looking in any direction as directed.
5. Colour Vision
Colour vision tests focus on a child’s ability to identify colour accurately, as this is important during playing, reading, and writing. Typical tests present colour plates featuring coloured dots with hidden shapes or numbers in them. An inability to identify those numbers or shapes suggests colour vision deficiency.
There’s more to each of the above aspects of a kid’s eye exam. To know more, you can consult one of our trusted Toronto eye exam specialists to get more in-depth information or you can click here to send us a question.
Do Kids Really Need a Yearly Eye Exam?
Yes! However, this can depend on their vision needs. If they have a vision condition or their visual prescription changes while growing, then a yearly exam is a good way to keep an eye on it. If not, then one of our optometrists will let you know how often your child should come by our office. However, having an eye exam around 1 or 2 years and yearly after that can help you maintain your kid’s eye health in check as they develop.
What’s more, since children in Ontario can get free annual eye exams or annual vision screenings covered by OHIP, there’s no reason for parents not to take up this benefit.
Children who can’t see the board clearly, or focus on pictures or words in a book are bound to struggle when learning. Vision problems also affect the social and physiological aspects of child development. To get ahead of any potential eye conditions your kids may have or to simply ensure their vision is as healthy as possible, you can book an appointment with us for a back-to-school eye exam at any of Kodak Lens Vision Centres’ seven eye clinic locations in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Let’s start the school year the right way!