There’s a lot to prepare for Back-to-School this year. Mr. J is entering Kindergarten and it seems like the stakes suddenly got higher. He needs a lunchbox, indoor shoes and school supplies- not to mention Back-to-School threads and maybe even an apple for his teacher.
Every July, I take stock of what we need to accomplish as a family before we go back to the fall season. This usually involves the activities we are going to sign the kids up for, the preschool they will attend, and which days of the week will mesh with all of the rest of the things we do. Then we get into the health appointments. How long has it been since we visited the dentist? Always too long. Do we need any check-ups at the doctor? Not usually.
Getting my big kid up for success at school means I need to add a comprehensive eye exam to our list of to-do’s. Until recently, I wasn’t sure of the protocol for kids eye exams or how often they needed to go. In our family, my kids have gone with us every two years because my husband and I both wear glasses and contacts. Since Mom and Dad were going, we booked the kids in for a visit too.
Just recently, I had the chance to sit down with Dr. Watson of the Whitecourt Optometry Clinic to ask all of my eye health questions for children. In return, I got a comprehensive schedule telling me when children should go, 4 reasons why you need to get your kid’s eyes checked and how to find a great doctor of optometry near you.
Eye Health Check-Ups Recommended for Kids
- Age 6-12 months: Infants’ eye health and vision should be assessed. This age group is particularly cooperative as they want to follow the lights with their eyes anyway.
- Age 3: A comprehensive eye exam should be completed by age 3. At this age, if there are any problems, they can still be reversed or corrected. The exam is fun and easy to do. No feedback from the children is required.
- Age 5: Before Kindergarten, children should complete a comprehensive eye exam. Visual perceptions are important for learning.
4 Reasons You Need To Get Your Kids’ Eyes Checked
- It’s not just about vision. Oftentimes, parents may think, “Our child doesn’t need glasses, they can see fine,” but we are missing the point. Vision assessment is a component of the eye exam, but so is health. A complete eye exam has the potential to detect underlying health conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s All Connected.
- Over 80% of learning is visual. If your child is having a problem with their vision, this is going to affect reading, writing or learning in school. Instead of being reactive when a problem arises, why not be proactive and set your child up for success from the start?
- Many visual problems are hard to diagnose without an eye exam. Vision and eye health problems may not be obvious to parents. We’re not equipped or expected to know. For children, the way they see things is normal to them so they may not know there is a problem.
- The earlier a problem can be detected, the more likely it can be resolved.
Adding Eye Exams to the List
In Alberta, we’re incredibly fortunate that Alberta Health Services covers the cost of annual comprehensive eye exams for ages 18 and under and 65 and older. Urgent or medically necessary visits to are covered for everyone as well. Why not book one at a Doctor of Optometry near you?
This post has been generously sponsored by the Alberta Association of Optometrists, the opinions and language are my own.
a passionate recreation coordinator by day, crazy farm mama of two by night. i live outdoors: growing my own food, camping and hiking with my border collie with two active kids in tow. when I’m not writing, I’m experimenting with recipes, and crafts – or anything else that might keep the monkeys entertained.