Q: I understand that children should have their eyes tested at age 2. Why so young? And what kind of eye conditions can be determined and potentially prevented by getting their eyes tested so young?
A: Yes, children should have their eyes tested by age 2…sooner if an eye turn is noticed by the parents. Strabismus (an eye turn) is evaluated and can be treated with glasses (in most cases) or surgically (in severe and non-accommodative cases). Amblyopia (lazy eye) is often a surprise to parents since only one eye can’t see and the other eye is fine. This child functions normally but is losing visual potential out of the ’lazy eye’ as well as depth perception. The eyes are not necessarily turned in or out for amblyopia to occur which is a common misconception among parents, who assume that they would have seen that there was something wrong with their child’s eye. Amblyopia and strabismus are best treated at young ages (before the age of 4) for maximum visual improvement as that is when the visual system is most “plastic” or able to make proper connections from the eye to the brain.
Parents and teachers should be proactive in having their young children evaluated for their vision as learning is 80% visual. Why do kids not tell us that they are having problems seeing?—They do not have a reference point of what clear vision is and have adapted.
(note: children ages 19 and under are still OHIP insured for their eye exams)
Dr. Patricia Fink
Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066