Annual Eye Exams
Children are often unaware of their eye troubles and for that reason may not complain about what they see. Annual eye exams for children and youth are covered by OHIP.
OHIP coverage for Optometry Services
OHIP covers the following eye care services for:
- Children 0 to 19 years old: An annual, full comprehensive eye examination plus any follow-up assessments that may be required.
- Additional OHIP covered optometry services may also be available.
The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that children have their first eye exam at six months-old, another before starting junior kindergarten and annually thereafter, to ensure good vision and development. In Ontario, eye exams are covered by OHIP for children up to 19 years-old.
Vision Related to Learning
It is not always obvious when a child is struggling with eye trouble at school. In fact, 61 per cent of parents mistakenly believe they can detect a vision problem in their child.
An undetected vision problem can take a toll on a child’s learning. They may not be able to read or write at the rate of their peers, see the chalkboard, or focus for long periods of time.
With 80 per cent of learning being visual and one in four children having a vision problem, it is important children receive a comprehensive eye exam from an optometrist to ensure optimal eye health and development.
It is recommended children receive an eye exam at six months, before starting junior kindergarten and every year after that or as recommended by the optometrist. In Ontario, eye exams are covered by OHIP for children up to 19 years-old. If your child is in junior kindergarten and requires glasses they are eligible for a complimentary pair through the Eye See Eye Learn program (www.EyeSeeEyeLearn.ca).
For more information, visit the Ontario Association of Optometrists’ website: www.optom.on.ca
Vision and Screen Time
An increased use of digital devices (tablets, phones and laptops) can cause your child to suffer from digital eye strain, a collection of various eye and vision-related problems. This includes: blurred vision, dry eyes, eye pain and, teary eyes.
Your child’s digital devices also emit blue light, which can impact their eyes and wake/sleep cycle. For starters, it can delay the production of sleep inducing hormones, which is why screen time before bed is not recommended. It can also damage the light sensitive cells at the back of their eyes and increase the risk of developing macular degeneration later in life.
To decrease your child’s risk of digital eye strain and exposure to blue light:
- Position their screen about an arm’s length from their eyes and 20 degrees below eye level
- Keep their screen free of fingerprints and dust, as both can reduce vision clarity
- Make sure the room is well lit. The contrast from a dark room to a bright screen is too much for the eyes
- Practice the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, encourage your child to take a 20 second break and to focus their eyes on something at least 20 feet away
- Remind them to blink
- Download apps that can filter the amount of blue light being emitted
Since digital devices has become an important to tool in learning, it’s important your child receives an annual eye exam to ensure they do not have digital eye strain or undetected eye health and vision problems.
For more information visit the Ontario Association of Optometrists’ website: www.optom.on.ca