By: Dr. Hazel Lema Delong, Doctor of Optometry
How well can your child see? The answer may not be as simple as you think!
There’s no doubt about it, you know your kids inside and out. You know if they are coming down with the flu, if they are tired or are simply feeling off. Moms know best, that is certainly true, but moms can’t possibly know everything, especially when it comes to your child’s vision and eye health.
One in every four school-aged children has a vision problem, and often those problems go un-diagnosed. Parents may not recognize that their child is struggling to see, because often the child doesn’t even realize something is wrong. They assume the way they see the world is normal!
They may not be bumping into things or squinting their eyes, but they could be forced to work harder than the other kids to see the board at school, maybe they are struggling to absorb what they are reading or living with eye strain and headaches. Since eighty per cent of learning is visual, this can dramatically affect a child’s learning ability and behavior. In fact, children with vision problems are often misdiagnosed as having learning or behavioural disabilities.
The good news is, a Doctor of Optometry can detect and treat these problems – and Alberta Health Care even covers the cost! Children are covered for annual eye exams until they turn 19. Alberta Doctors of Optometry recommend children have their first comprehensive eye exam between the ages of six and nine months, their second between the ages of two and five, and one every year after that.
If your child is in kindergarten, they can also receive a free pair of eyeglasses through a program called Eye See…Eye Learn®. The goal is to ensure all children are given the chance to reach their full learning potential. For more information and to find an optometrist near you, visit http://www.optometrists.ab.ca/find-an-optometrist.