Child Eye Exam – Why Should I Get My Child’s Vision Checked?

Child Eye Exam

child eye examUnless a child is showing obvious signs of vision impairment or poor eye health, many parents and guardians assume they don’t need to schedule an eye exam. Some even think their children’s eyes will be examined in school as a part of regular health screenings. Both of these are mistaken assumptions. At Metroicare, we agree with the the Canadian Association of Optometrists’ recommendations that children have at least one comprehensive eye exam before they start school and once a year thereafter.

Children often don’t complain about vision impairments because they don’t know whether their vision is abnormal. To them, blurry vision, not being able to follow words on a page, or straining to see a blackboard (or whiteboard) may seem perfectly normal. As they say, a fish doesn’t question how it swims, it just swims! Many vision impairments are only discovered once a child begins school or starts playing organized sports. Both situations require clear sight. But a comprehensive vision examination isn’t just a test of sight. It’s an examination of eye health. And for children, it can be one of the first steps in diagnosing an eye disorder.

Why Should I Get My Child's Vision Checked

At Metroicare, our pediatric eye exam includes a full review of a child’s health and vision history as well as tests for farsightedness, nearsightedness, color perception, astigmatism, and other common vision conditions. Identifying an eye impairment or disorder early greatly aids a child’s ability to learn and feel comfortable in a classroom, or on a playing field.

Metroicare’s comprehensive eye exams also look at eye function such as how well the eyes focus and work together, as well as overall health screenings. Did you know that in children, some binocular vision disorders are mistaken for behavioural disorders such as ADHD? Many family doctors treating children for ADHD often don’t detect or even consider that an ocular disorder, or malfunction, is the cause. Disorders such as convergence insufficiency, where the eye do not work in unison, may not be apparent in simple vision checks. Only optometrists with expertise in eye-teaming abnormalities, would be able to diagnose—and properly treat—these issues in children.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, it is also important for children to learn early about eye care and protection. Who better to impart this knowledge than the trained professionals at Metroicare? We know that too much screen time, or time spend in front of Ipads, tablets, computers, smartphones, and TVs can harm a child’s eyesight. Since the eyes of children and teens continue developing until they are about 20, many eye care professionals believe long hours spend in front of electronic devices can cause myopia, or near-sightedness. Both the Canadian Ophthalmological Society and the Canadian Association of Optometrists agree that the strain of “near work”— or looking at things close up—effects vision and can lead to conditions such as dry eye. Many experts are now recommending that children spend more time outdoors looking at things far away and absorbing beneficial sunlight and vitamin D.

Vision can be so important to learning and behaviour. A comprehensive eye exam will start your child’s school years off right. Call Metroicare today to book an appointment today.

Pediatric Eye Care

The National Health Interview Survey, in the United States, recently conducted a research and discovered that about 3% of children who are 18 years and below suffer from various forms of visual impairment, blindness or could not see even with the aid of glasses.
Some of the commonest visual impairments that where identified include:

Pediatric Eye Care - AMBLYOPIA

Some children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years were discovered to have cases of Amblyopia. It primarily causes vision loss in children. It is generated as a result of abnormal development of the neural connectivity between the eye and the brain during the child’s early life. Amblyopia is also referred to as “lazy eye.”
A typical case of a loss in vision can only affect one of the eyes, but children who suffer from Amblyopia are more likely to suffer from vision impairment in their later life than those who do not have it. With this, it’s therefore vital to detect amblyopia at its early stage so it could be treated and curbed in time before the child gets to the age of seven. If it’s neglected or not treated on time, it could lead to loss of vision permanently in one or both eyes.

Pediatric Eye Care - STRABISMUS

Strabismus is best described as the non-arrangement of the eyes, and it has affected 2% to 4% of children under the age of 6. Strabismus causes the brain to receive complex visual inputs because the eyes are oriented in different directions. This impairs the perception process and binocular vision development.

Pediatric Eye Care - REFRACTIVE ERRORS

This represents the most common causes of visual disorder in children. It can consist of hyperopia, astigmatism, and myopia. It results in blurred vision because the lights are not focused on the retina. When such refractive errors are not corrected in infants, and children in pre-school age, due to parental concerns regarding the developmental delay. Also, the clinically based deficiency in visual-motor and cognitive functions that might later affects the child’s readiness for school. But its prevalence varies among different studies due to different examination techniques and diagnostic criteria.

Pediatric Eye Care - MYOPIA

Myopia refers to any condition whereby the visual images focuses on the front of the retina and causes a defective vision of distant objects. According to reports, about 4 percent of children between 6 months to 72 months old and 9 percent of older children between 5-17 years are suffering from myopia. Its prevalence varies by ethnicity, race, and age.

Pediatric Eye Care - HYPEROPIA

Hyperopia occurs when the visual images focus at a point beyond the retina resulting in a defective vision of near objects. It’s also known as farsightedness because it makes nearby objects to appear blurry. Its occurrence is about 21 percent among children (6 months to 5 years of age) and 13 percent among children (5 to 17 years of age). Its appearance varies among race, age, and ethnicity.

Pediatric Eye Care - ASTIGMATISM

This is an irregularity in the shape of the lens or cornea which leads to a blurred vision of distant objects. About 15 and 28 percent of children under the age of 17 years old have astigmatism. Most children who suffer from myopia and hyperopia tend to have astigmatism too.

To book your Pediatric Eye Exam and consult with one of our optometrists call our downtown Toronto today. 

Children’s Eye Exam – Wearing glasses

Glasses can help correct many types of vision problems.

  • If a child is very farsighted, nearsighted, or has astigmatism, the brain only receives blurry images. Glasses help the child see clearly, which helps vision develop normally.
  • If a child has crossed eyes, glasses can correct the problem and help vision develop normally. Glasses may be used to correct crossed eyes, even when vision is clear.
  • If a child has good vision in just one eye, glasses will protect the eye from injury. These glasses must be made of shatterproof material such as polycarbonate or trivex.

The doctor will:

  • Discuss your child’s vision and how glasses will help.
  • Give you a prescription for your child’s glasses

The optometrist’s prescription is used to make the lenses for your child’s glasses. The choice of frames is up to you. Here are some suggestions for choosing frames:

  • Let your child pick out the frames. If your child likes them, he or she will be more interested in wearing them.
  • Choose frames that are not too small or your child will look over them.
  • Make sure the glasses fit well, don’t slip or feel too tight or heavy.
  • Regular glasses won’t protect your child’s eyes from injury. Your child may also need safety glasses for sports.

For any tips on eye care for your children, selecting the right frames and ways of encouragement, give us a call today. Metro Eye Care is an optometrist office located in downtown Toronto and accepting new patients!