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Children’s Eye Health; the Importance and How to make it Fun!

Recently I was perusing Today’s Parent, as one of my sources I reference, to be a more informed and savvy parent. As a person in the eyewear business, a particular article caught my eye, “How to Spot an Issue with Your Child’s Eye Health”. Kudos to Haley Overland for this article, our children’s eye health is extremely important and ensuring that information is readily available to parents is pertinent to assuring proper care.

Alyssa Wearing her New Glasses

 Fellow Colleagues daughter, Alyssa, looking FAB in pink glasses!

Underlying Health Issues 

So what should parents know regarding their children’s eye health? For starters eye health goes way beyond just the health of the eye, through regular eye exams other health issues can be detected and possibly prevented. The first eye check usually occurs at the hospital after the birth of your child, or during baby’s first checkup if you had a home birth. Doctors are looking for anything that appears abnormal. An eye exam consists of the doctor testing binocular vision, depth perception, tracking, focus, visual acuity, astigmatism, strabismus and amblyopia.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams 

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends your child’s first eye exam with an optometrist be between six to nine months, then at the age of 2 two years old and then once a year up to the age of nineteen. If your child is older than 9 months and hasn’t seen an eye doctor do not fret, if you are seeing a pediatrician than your doctor is checking them. Often a pediatrician will not recommend a visit to an optometrist until an older age, around three years old, as long as there is no history of problems within the family and nothing seems out of the ordinary. Your pediatrician is there to help, so if I could give any personal advice, it would be to ask as many questions as possible! If you want to know more about eye health ask your pediatrician and call an optometrist.  A full eye exam is extremely important by the age of three years old as the eye is still developing and many problems can be remedied. Also it’s imperative that children have an eye exam before school to assure your child has the best possible start.

Engage Your Children in Eye Health

An eye exam may feel daunting to a child at first, but kids usually have a blast! My kids love wearing the cool glasses and making funny faces, not to mention the stick-on tattoos they get at the end. There are some very cool games and books you can use to prepare your kids for a visit to the eye doctor and to get them excited about the possibility of wearing glasses. A clever flash card game, Magenta’s Eye Exam Flash cards, and Dora the Explorer Printable Eye Charts, is a great way to engage your kids in the process and to get them excited about their exam.  At some point your kids may need to get a pair of glasses, but thankfully the overall view on wearing them has changed drastically. Glasses are now very fashionable and my own daughter was upset to discover she did not require a prescription during her last eye doctor visit. To her relief we can order plano glasses; frames and lenses without the prescription. If your child is less than enthused about the possibility of wearing glasses check out Doctors of Optometry Canada’s “Top Five Story Books to Celebrate Children’s Vision Month” for some great books to read with your kids.

To all you parents out there I hope you have fun with your kids learning about eye health and eye exams. For more information check out  Doctors of Optometry and the Canadian Association of Optometrists. We would love to hear about your experience with your children at the eye doctor as well as any books or games you would recommend.

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