Back to school: A great time to check your kids’ vision health

With a new school year under way, the demands on your child’s eyes are more intense than ever. Technologies like Smart Boards, Tablets, and Smart Phones put your child’s vision to the test making them shift focus from near to far to intermediate hundreds of times throughout the day. This puts significant strain on the muscles that allow the eyes to converge and diverge to achieve the various focal distances and perhaps even more strain on the muscles that control the crystalline lens’ ability to accommodate and focus at those ranges. And that’s on an eye that needs no correction, on an eye that’s not seeing well to begin with, these effects can be devastating and disheartening; all too often leading to poor study habits, bad behaviour in class, and lower than normal grades.

Thankfully many of these issues can be caught and corrected with a routine eye examination and a visit to your Licensed Optician. A routine eye examination with an optometrist is the most effective way to assess your child’s visual needs and, when done thoroughly, will go well beyond a simple refraction or assessment of their prescription. A thorough eye examination will, amongst other things, check the health of your child’s eyes as well as their ability to converge at various focal distances. Upon completion of the exam, your optometrist will provide a prescription for glasses as well as referrals or a recommended treatment plan if one is deemed necessary.

Along with the health check, your child’s routine eye examination establishes their visual acuity, their ability to see, and offers correction when it is found lacking – the prescription for glasses the doctor provided at the end of the exam. A visit to your Licensed Optician should be your next stop. Your optician will interpret your optometrist’s findings, will establish your child’s environmental and scholastic needs then design an optical solution that will best suit your child. This solution may be as simple as a pair of glasses to improve their vision in class or it may include a discussion about contact lenses, sports glasses, or other types of task specific options that will improve your child’s quality of life.

Regardless of the outcome, checking your child’s vision on an annual basis is the most effective way of safeguarding their precious gift of sight, and put simply seeing better means living better.

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