It's never too late to bring your kids' in for an eye exam with our optometrists.
There is no cost to you because your kid's provincial health card covers all appointments.
Ensuring your child's vision is on point is one of the first steps to set the rest of their life up for success!
One of the most common questions we are asked is, "When should I bring my kids in for their first eye exam?" It never fails to blow a person's mind when we recommend a child's first eye exam somewhere around 6 to 9 months old. Assuming all is well at the first exam, we recommend the next eye exam at around age three and then every year while your child is in school. Until age 18, the cost of children's eye exams is covered by the provincial health card.
BABIES AND TODDLERS
You might be wondering how we can do an eye exam on a baby or a toddler when they can't speak, never mind read the alphabet. We use different techniques such as matching games, pictures, or "preferential looking tests" to determine how well your child can see. To measure if your child needs glasses, we use handheld instruments and lenses. This technique is just as accurate as the "1 or 2 method" you might be more familiar with.
KIDS, TWEENS AND TEENS
Checking your child for glasses is only part of the pediatric eye exam. Normal eyesight and eye coordination are something that develops over time- we're not born with it.
A significant portion of your child's eye exam tests how their eyes work together as a team.
Eye teaming (a.k.a. binocular vision) problems are the most common eye conditions that we see in children. They are also a common reason kids might have behavioral or attention issues or are not doing well in school. Fortunately, these conditions are treatable with glasses and sometimes exercises. The only way to know if your child's eye coordination is correctly developing is to have their eyes checked by a qualified eye doctor.
When children develop myopia (a.k.a. nearsightedness), their eyes can get more and more nearsighted as they grow. In addition to glasses that frequently need to be changed, sometimes high degrees of myopia can cause some blinding retinal problems when children become adults.
New research has identified effective ways to slow down how fast a child's myopic correction changes, called myopia control. Myopia control is done with either eye drops or contacts. We know it seems crazy to talk about getting your child into contact lenses or giving them medicine. But, with these treatments, we can keep your child's glasses prescription from getting too strong and save you from having to update your child's glasses every few months.
If we find that your child might need glasses, we recommend a specialized exam called cycloplegic refraction. Cycloplegia is when we use eye drops then re-test your child's eyes to get a more accurate reading for glasses. The eye drops can make your child's vision blurry and sensitive to light for several hours, but the effect of this medicine wears off on its own. The blurry vision caused by this test can be a bit of an inconvenience and requires some planning to schedule. But, we strongly recommend it because cycloplegic refraction is vital to making sure we get the best possible glasses prescription for your child.
If we find out that your child does need glasses, our in-house optical has many options for kid's glasses. Glasses are like clothing. We know that kids can be hard on their clothes and will eventually outgrow them. Knowing this is why we have kid's glasses options for all budgets. We also have some frame brands that are nearly indestructible for those active kids that can be hard on their clothing.