Back to school is a good time to think about the eye health of your entire family. Healthy eyes are critical to a child’s learning and development. It’s estimated that 80% of a child’s learning involves their eyes. However, one child in four has an undetected vision problem, which is why it’s so important to have their eyes checked every year. We teamed up with Vie de Parents and the Opto-Réseau Centre visuel Mont-Saint-Hilaire and Opto-Réseau Terrebonne clinics to produce five short videos to help you keep an eye on your kids’ visual health.

 

Early signs

It’s not always easy to spot the symptoms of vision problems. Kids often don’t realize they have an eye problem because they assume everyone sees the way they do. However, there are certain physical and behavioural signs to watch for, as well as minor health-related issues that may seem harmless, but can point to a vision problem. A professional can also detect eye problems in children that don’t show any symptoms. So be on the lookout and talk to your optometrist if you notice anything unusual.

 

 

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How eye problems affect learning

Studies have shown there is a direct link between problems with eyesight and kids getting bad grades and dropping out.  Poor eyesight can make reading slow and difficult for children and can cause headaches and fatigue because it makes it harder to concentrate. If you notice that your child is having a hard time at school and is having trouble reading and writing, get their eyes checked—it could make all the difference.

 

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Eye exams for children

We recommend children get an eye exam when they turn three and once a year after that. However, if your child shows signs of an eye problem before they turn three, you can have their eyes examined as early as 6 months of age. The eye exam is adapted for children—even kids who can’t read yet. It takes about 30 minutes and is fully covered by Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec for children up to age 17. Claudine Greendale, one of the optometrists and owners of the Opto-Réseau Centre visuel Mont-Saint-Hilaire clinic, explains what to expect at the exam (French only).

 

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Dealing with eyestrain

Isabelle Leclerc, optometrist and owner of the Opto-Réseau Terrebonne clinic, explains how to detect eyestrain in children (French only). Eyestrain is becoming more common and affects all children, even those with perfect vision, because it is primarily caused by staring at screens. The best way to prevent it is to practice good eye health—don’t let children spend more than one hour a day in front of a screen and have them play outside for at least 45 minutes a day.

 

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Choosing the right frame

Does your child need glasses? An optician can help you choose the frame that best suits your child’s face and prescription, and most importantly, what they like. Kids are more likely to wear their glasses if they’re comfortable and think they look good. Annie Ducharme, optician and owner of the Opto-Réseau Centre visuel Mont-Saint-Hilaire clinic has some tips to help you find the perfect frame (French only).

 

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Eye health is a key part of a child’s development and shouldn’t be neglected. If you haven’t already done so, book an eye exam for your child at the nearest Opto-Réseau clinic and help them start the school year with a twinkle in their eye!