Envision a Healthy Future for Your Child
Children rely on their vision to engage with the world around them, from seeing your face for the first time, through exploring in toddlerhood and thriving in school in the years after.
Regular eye exams help support your child’s healthy development both in the classroom and outside of it by identifying any vision issues, like nearsightedness, “lazy eye,” or the effects of a sports injury, and addressing them appropriately.
Book your child’s next eye exam with us today.
When Does my Child Need an Eye Exam?
Your child’s first eye exam comes well before they can identify the letters on an eye chart. Don’t wait for your child to mention vision problems before taking them for an eye exam—kids don’t know their vision is different from anyone else’s.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends the following schedule:
- Infants & Toddlers (birth to 24 months): undergo their first eye examination between the ages of 6 and 9 months
- Preschool Children (2 to 5 years): undergo at least one eye examination between the ages of 2 and 5 years
- School Age Children (6 to 19 years): undergo an eye examination annually
- Adults (20 to 39 years): undergo an eye examination every 2 to 3 years.
- Adults (40 to 64 years): undergo an eye examination every 2 years.
- Adults (65 years or older): undergo an eye examination annually.
What Happens in a Child’s Eye Exam?
When we check your child’s vision, we’re careful to keep them as happy and comfortable as possible, with you at their side. A child’s eye exam is specialized for their abilities and considers how kids of different ages spend their days.
Here are the parts of a typical children’s eye exam:
Child’s Health History
We’ll discuss your child’s history, including any medical concerns, prenatal conditions, developmental milestones, and past illnesses. We’ll also ask about your family medical history, including any relevant eye conditions, like lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), or medical conditions that can affect vision, like diabetes.
Acuity refers to how sharp your child’s vision is. If they’re too young to identify letters on an eye chart, we can use pictures and symbols to assess their acuity. We’ll check each eye separately.
Your child’s eye movement, alignment, and ability to track are important to their development and issues should be treated in early childhood for the best results. Your optometrist will observe your child’s eyes and may use special 3D glasses to measure their depth perception.
While adults and older children can look through a phoropter (“What’s better, number 1 or number 2?”) to allow an optometrist to assess any refractive error and write a prescription, younger children need a different approach.
Your optometrist can assess your young child for a refractive error with retinoscopy, by shining a light into their eye along with a series of lenses that focus the reflection from the retina. Dilating eye drops might be necessary for some patients. If needed, your optometrist can provide your child a prescription for glasses to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness, or astigmatism.
A Final Discussion
Finally, we’ll take time to sit down with you and your child to discuss everything we’ve assessed in the exam. We want you to feel totally comfortable with additional steps we’ll suggest to address any visual problems.
Please take this time to dig deeper by asking any questions. And if you think of additional questions afterward, you’re welcome to call us directly.
The Importance of Vision in Childhood Learning
Your child’s vision is key to everything they learn. If they’re not seeing clearly, they may struggle to develop language and social skills, fall behind in the classroom, or get injured while playing sports.
Left untreated, vision problems can lead to:
- Frustration at school
- Slower learning
- Behavioural problems
- Poor self-image
Regular eye exams can keep them on track and thriving.
Eyesight and ADHD in Children
If your child is distracted or fidgety in class, doesn’t enjoy reading, gets headaches, or can’t seem to focus on school assignments, you might wonder if they have ADHD. In fact, that behaviour could be related to trouble with their vision. There is some overlap between symptoms of ADHD and visual function problems.
An eye exam that assesses your child’s ability to focus their eyes, combined with an ADHD assessment for your physician, can help determine the root of your child’s struggles. Let us know if you’re concerned about ADHD when you book your child’s eye exam.
Limiting Nearsightedness (Myopia Control)
In the past several years, advancements have been made in specialized contact lenses and glasses for children that can both correct their nearsightedness and limit their eye’s changes. In many cases, this means their prescription doesn’t worsen at the same rate as it might have otherwise.
Learn more about Old South Optometry’s myopia control options for children.
Common Childhood Vision Issues
It’s not uncommon for a children’s eye exam to uncover some kind of vision issue. Early detection through an eye exam is key to helping your child’s eyes stay healthy and ensuring their vision doesn’t affect their school performance. Here are some vision issues that are common in childhood:
Refractive errors are the most common cause of blurry vision and can be corrected with eyeglasses (or contacts for older patients). Myopia (nearsightedness) seems to be on the rise for children around the world.
Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)
Strabismus is a condition where the eyes aren’t properly aligned. One or both eyes may point in any direction, either all the time or just during certain activities, like reading or drawing.
Strabismus should be treated as early as possible. This can be done with glasses, eye exercises, or, sometimes, surgery.
We are conveniently located in South London, at the southwest corner of Wharncliffe Rd S & Emery St W.
- 393 Wharncliffe Rd S
- London, Ontario N6J 2M3