The back-to-school season is a great opportunity to think about how a child sees the world. With 80 per cent of classroom learning being visual, the importance of good vision can’t be overlooked.
“School can be hard enough without adding poor vision into the mix,” said optometrist Dr. Jeffrey Guthrie, President of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO). “Parents assume their child will tell them if they can’t see well, but children with poor vision don’t know what normal vision looks like. Regular comprehensive eye exams are the only way to make sure a child’s vision is where it should be.”
OHIP covers annual eye exams for children up to 19 years old, yet only 14 per cent of Canadian children under the age of six have had a comprehensive eye exam before entering their first year of school. In Ontario, one in four children has an undetected vision problem that is affecting their ability to learn.
Research shows that children with good vision go on to perform better in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities.
“In addition to affecting their grades, poor vision can impact a child’s social development and hand-eye coordination in physical activities. Yearly comprehensive eye exams will detect a vision problem before it hinders a child’s academic and social success,” said Dr. Guthrie.
The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that every child have their first eye exam at six months old to ensure proper eye development, again at two to three years old and every year thereafter.
While notebooks and pencils are important purchases ahead of the school year, a trip to the optometrist should be at the top of the list. It’s the only way to ensure children are really ready to tackle the school year.
For more information, contact:
Ontario Association of Optometrists
905-826-3522 ext. 246