Author: Dr. Tiffany Sieunarine
It’s That Time Again… Back to School!
Check, check, check!
As summer quickly comes to an end, last minute plans are made to fit in as much as possible before the routines of September begin. Parents are often bombarded with a checklist of things that need to be done or purchased before the first day of school. We are all exposed to endless commercials and advertisements that accompany this time of year for back to school. For many parents these checklists often include purchasing school supplies, clothes and shoes, getting a haircut; yet often overlooked is the need for an eye examination.
Vision and Learning…what are the stats?
According to the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO), 80% of learning is visual and 1 in 4 school-aged children have a vision problem. It is recommended by the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) that a child’s first eye exam be between 6 to 9 months of age and then at least one exam between 2 to 5 years of age. Once in school, children are generally checked annually until 19 years of age or as determined by their optometrist. All those aged 19 years and under are eligible for an annual eye exam with a valid OHIP card. This makes accessing eye exams very easy. We also encourage parents to pre-book their child for the following year after their appointment to simplify the process.
Despite the evidence linking vision and learning, fewer than 14% of children under the age of 6 have had an eye exam. The OAO and CAO have recently increased their online presence with educational advertisements on social media. This is helping to reinforce the importance of overall eye health care.
My child already had their eyes checked at school. Do they still need an eye exam with an optometrist?
Many schools conduct vision screenings or sight tests. Although these ways of testing vision can sometimes detect the need for spectacles or a lazy eye, they do not provide a complete assessment of a child’s ocular status, for example, checking the health of the eye. Furthermore, the instrumentation that is used at times can give a false impression of nearsightedness if the child is actively focusing. So, yes we encourage parents to still book an appointment for their child with us to ensure they have a comprehensive evaluation.
What is the ESEL?
Eye See Eye Learn (ESEL) is a program funded in part by the Government of Ontario. For any child in junior kindergarten (JK) who has had an eye exam with a participating optometrist and requires glasses, they will receive a free pair courtesy of OGI frames and Nikon Lenswear. As of July 1, 2016, any child born in 2012 and attending JK this fall is eligible. The optometrists at Insight Eye Care are pleased to be participating again in the program.
Source: Optical Vision Resources
In efforts to increase awareness about the program and the importance of starting eye exams at an early age, we have partnered with the following local schools: Bridgeport PS, Westmount PS and W.T Townshend PS. In the fall we will be contacting the JK teachers and principals of the partnering schools. If your child attends one of these schools they may have one of us as a guest visiting their classroom! We look forward to sharing about what to expect at their check-up and about overall eye health.
In summary, there is a strong link between vision and learning. If your child has not yet had their eyes checked for the year, we recommend booking an appointment with us. Feel free to give our office a call at 519-885-2020 today so you can check another item off your back to school list!
Happy school days!
Source: PBS / Nelvana / Hanho Heung-Up / Scholastic Entertainment