Does my child really need an eye exam?

Can you believe that we are already more than halfway through summer vacation? Welcome to August – also known to us as National Eye Exam Month! As you are starting to create your back-to-school lists, don’t forget to schedule your child’s annual eye exam!

There are some early warning signs that your child may be experiencing vision issues. Do you notice your child squinting or sitting closer to the television? Perhaps they are closing one eye when they are reading or complaining of headaches? These are just some of the symptoms that may trigger you to schedule an eye exam.

Don’t wait for these symptoms to occur before scheduling an eye exam – routine annual eye exams are equally as important as regular check-ups with your family physician. It is recommended by the Ontario Association of Optometrists that children have a complete optometric eye exam at six months of age, again before starting kindergarten, and annually throughout the school years to ensure optimal eye health.


Does my child really need an eye exam?

“The importance of routine children’s eye exams cannot be understated.” Dr. Chadda explains, “Even in asymptomatic children this is extremely important.  Approximately 80% of all learning is visual and 1 out of 4 school aged children will have a visual problem.  This is not limited to what the child may or may not be able to see but also how the two eyes work together.  We are increasingly becoming more aware of the link to literacy difficulties and visual problems.  It is estimated that 60% of all literacy issues have an underlying visual problem.   We recommend yearly visits for school aged children.”


My child can’t read yet. Can they still have an eye exam?

This is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions and the answer is: Absolutely! Our optometrists are trained to perform eye exams for children of all ages. If your child is unable to read or identify letters, prepare them for the possibility of being asked to identify objects in pictures such as shapes or animals.


What can I expect at an eye exam?

A comprehensive eye exam does more than simply focus on vision, although that is a key component. Vision testing can detect if a child is suffering from near or farsightedness, which are treated with a prescription for glasses. Visual acuity testing also includes colour vision analysis, depth perception and assessment of peripheral vision.


Beyond the visual acuity testing, the overall health of the eye is closely examined. This includes the health of the pupil, retina, optic nerve and cornea.  These tests are performed to detect any abnormalities in the eye.  Early diagnosis is key to create treatment plans and to prevent further issues down the road.


What do I need to do to prepare for an eye exam for my child?

When arriving for your child’s first eye exam with an optometrist, ensure that you bring their health card as well as any information for third party health coverage in the event your child requires eyewear. It is also crucial that you are prepared and able to answer pertinent family health history requests from the optometrist.


From your child’s perspective, any trip to a doctor can be unsettling. Preparing them in advance for what to expect can be reassuring.


  • Let them know that the optometrist will be looking into their eyes with lights
  • Show them a picture of what the standard E-Chart looks like
  • Prepare them for the possibility of eye drops
  • Reassure them that these tests are not painful


How do I schedule an eye exam?

Getting ready to head back to school is an exciting time for parents and children! Ensure your child starts the school year off right with an eye exam. Click here to schedule your back-to-school eye exam online or call (905) 389-4201 for more information.