Updated: Feb 8
It’s back to school time for kids in Ontario. This means it’s time for picking up last minute school supplies and making sure your children’s eye health is ready for hitting the books.
Our teams across all our locations are ready to help parents ensure their children are prepared for the classroom and extra curricular activities. For many children, common vision problems can be mistaken for learning difficulties or bad behavior, when in many cases, they simply need a pair of glasses. It’s important to address any issues as early as possible, as vision plays such a pivotal role in learning and development for children.
Our friendly and highly trained optometrists in Ontario have years of experience with examining children’s eyes, and always check for common children’s eye health issues such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (squint), myopia, otherwise known as near-sightedness, hyperopia, commonly known as far-sightedness, and infections like conjunctivitis as part of our children’s eye exam.
In addition to checking your children’s eyes, we will also provide you with helpful information to ensure their eyes are protected in the class and at home.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of Vision Problems In Children?
Kids are good at adapting and disguising eye issues. Many children may not even realize they have an issue if they have been having trouble seeing for a long time. It’s important to look for the signs of vision problems such as:
Sitting too close to the TV, tablets, smartphones, or board at school
Squinting when trying to read
Trouble focusing or a short attention span
Complaining about sore or irritated eyes
If your child is showing signs of these common vision problem symptoms, we advise bringing them in to get an eye exam as soon as possible.
With that in mind, our team of experts has put together a few tips to help your kids begin their journey to better vision and eye health:
Get a Regular Eye Exam
Usually, we recommend you start getting an eye check for your child when they are 3 years old. This will help us to assess important eye functions such as colour vision or tracking, as well as any changes in prescription which might mean they need to wear glasses. A vision screening at school is great for assessing how sharp your vision is, but they won’t go in depth into a child’s eye health in the same way that an eye exam with the optometrist does.
Our optometrists will usually advise you to bring your child every 2 years for a routine eye exam after their first one unless they want to monitor you more frequently to keep an eye on any potential issues they may have identified.
Wear the Right Eye Protection
Kids spend a lot of time outdoors. That’s why it is important to always ensure they are wearing glasses that provide 100% UV protection. If your children play sports such as swimming or contact sports, it is also important to make sure they have the right protection for their eyes such as swimming or sports goggles. Choose a pair that comes with a shatter resistant, anti scratch coating.
If your child requires glasses, make sure they get a pair of goggles that is fitted with their prescription. This will allow them to enjoy their favourite activity with complete clarity of vision, reducing the risk of injury or accident.
Remember it is also important to protect your child’s eyes during the winter. Cold weather and winter activities can increase the risk of eye damage. Always make sure your child is wearing a full-face helmet when riding a Skidoo, skiing, or snowboarding. Is your child a hockey player? Make sure they also wear a full-face helmet to protect their eyes from injury.
We offer a wide range of children’s eye glasses in Ottawa and surrounding areas and our team are more than happy to talk you through the best options and find the right pair for your child.
Encourage Kids to Wash Their Hands Regularly
Most kids have become used to regular handwashing as COVID-19 remains a threat across the nation and worldwide, but did you know this is also important for good eye health? Bacteria can be transferred from the hands to the eyes causing common childhood ailments such as conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye.
Remember, viral particles from colds and flu can also enter the body through the eyes, so make sure your children are washing their hands regularly and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer for those ‘just in case’ moments.
Take Regular Breaks from Digital Devices
Kids spend more time than ever in front of screens. This exposure to digital devices can cause significant eye strain in children. The most common symptoms include red and itchy eyes, squinting, headaches, and blurred vision. Reduce the chances of developing digital eyestrain by encouraging children to take regular breaks while using digital devices. We recommend using the 20-20-20 rule. What does this mean? Take a 20-minute break, every 20 minutes by gazing at something 20 feet away.
Taking these breaks gives your eyes a rest and allows you to enjoy your digital devices in comfort throughout the day. We also advise spending more time outside with your children as studies suggest this slows down the development of near-sightedness.
Our optometrists in Ontario are always here for you and your family, to help keep your eyes healthy and safe. If you would like to book an appointment, contact our offices at https://www.laurier-optical.com/get-appointment. To contact our team for advice on children’s eye exams or children’s eye glasses in Ottawa and surrounding areas, you can find your nearest store here: https://www.laurier-optical.com/locations.