While you were rushing around picking up school supplies, new school clothes, indoor shoes and lunch kits did you remember to book your child’s annual eye exam?

Your child should have a routine eye exam before starting kindergarten, then every year throughout their school years. Most learning in school is visual and you need to ensure that your child can see what is being taught, see the board at the front of the class and be able to read books clearly. Most provincial health care plans cover the cost of eye exams for children.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms you should keep an eye out for in your children:

  • difficulty reading the chalkboard,
  • frequent headaches,
  • sitting too close to the TV,
  • squinting or rubbing eyes frequently,
  • losing their place while reading,
  • holding a book closer than usual,
  • red, itchy or watery eyes.

If your child shows any of these symptoms you may want to call an Optometrist.

Many provinces in Canada have the Eye See…Eye Learn® program which is a program designed to educate teachers, children and parents in the importance of eye health. Through this program Optometrists detect, diagnose and treat eye health and vision issues in kindergarten children.

The program offers routine eye exams to kindergarten children and even provides free eyeglasses to them if needed. Each year in Alberta, between 1,500 and 1,800 pairs of free eyeglasses are distributed and of those, about 60% are first-time prescriptions.

For more information on the Eye See…Eye Learn® program check out the following links:

Eye See – Eye Learn Program

Alberta Eye-See-Eye-Learn Program

Ontario Eye-See-Eye-Learn Program – with links to other provinces as well