Did you know that one in four school-age children has trouble with their vision? Nowadays, with computers an ever-present fixture in your child’s life, screens are everywhere: from the family computers, tablets, and iPods at home to the interactive whiteboards now at many schools. And some children complain that they have trouble seeing these whiteboards. Since 80% of children’s learning is visual, it’s extremely important for them to have an eye exam before or shortly after going back to school.

Eye exams help detect vision problems (hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism) and binocular vision problems earlier. Here is an overview of some common childhood vision problems and their warning signs:

Ametropia

  • Myopia: Your child may complain of having trouble seeing distant objects such as the TV or blackboard. You may also notice her squinting to see things better.
  • Hyperopia: She may complain of frontal headaches that start at mid-day and get worse when reading. Such headaches make it tough to read or see close-range.
  • Astigmatism: Your child may complain of blurry vision at all distances and get headaches on either side of the head.

Eye coordination problems

  • Strabismus: This is a muscular condition where the eyes do not align properly, causing double vision or leading the brain to ignore the image produced by the affected eye. A variety of reasons can cause one or both eyes to look inwards, outwards, above or below a fixed point.
  • Amblyopia: A weakness or loss of vision in one eye caused by an uncorrected vision problem. There are rarely any symptoms. Since only one eye is affected, the other eye usually sees well and compensates by taking over all other aspects of sight.

Even though vision plays such an important role in a child’s academic success, only a third of children get eye exams before going back to school—despite the fact that eye exams are covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) for children under 18. So there’s no more excuse not to take your child to the optometrist.

For more information, please see your Opto-Réseau vision professional. They will take special care of your child’s vision and ocular health and help you pick out frames and lenses adapted to their needs.