Every year the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) promotes the importance of regular eye examinations through their October Eye Health Campaigns. This October, the major focus of the campaign is to educate parents on the benefits of having their children's eyes examined by an optometrist before they begin school.
Few parents understand the importance of early eye exams for their children. A recent survey of 400 Canadian optometrists found that only 10% of their patients are below the age of 12. Since 80% of learning is done directly through vision, it is important to give your child a head start with clear vision and healthy eyes before they begin school. Children who cannot see the board, focus on a picture or follow words in a book may struggle to achieve their full learning potential. Routine eye exams can identify refractive errors (near or far-sightedness), lazy or turned eyes and ocular pathology.
Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer in children and occurs in approximately 1 in 20,000 births. Many children are diagnosed before the age of 2 and 95% are diagnosed in children younger than 5. Untreated, this cancer is almost always fatal, but with early detection and modern treatment, the survival rate is over 90%. Early detection is key!
The CAO encourages parents to have their child's eyes examined by an optometrist at 6 months, 2-3 years, just before starting school and every year after that until age 20; all of these eye exams are covered by OHIP.
Remember, children rarely complain of vision problems as they believe everyone sees the world as they do. Help your child see smart – visit your optometrist early and regularly!
Dr. Kristyn Pozzer
Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066