"In Alberta, 25 per cent of children begin grade one with an undiagnosed vision or eye health problem, which can interfere with their ability to learn during their first critical years in school. The Eye See…Eye Learn® program was developed by the Alberta Association of Optometrists to help children reach their full potential.
Through Eye See…Eye Learn®, Doctors of Optometry detect, diagnose and treat eye health problems in children as they enter the school system. Alberta Health Care already covers the cost of comprehensive eye exams for all children in the province. This program takes that one step further by providing free eyeglasses to kindergarten students who need a prescription."
Many vision problems can be detected at this stage and the earlier a condition is caught, the higher the chance of correction. If vision problems go undetected, young children may not even realize that anything is wrong because they assume that everyone sees the same way they do. Children should have their second eye exam between the ages of two and five, and one every year after that.
A screening checks for 20/20 vision, but it doesn't check for eye health or measure any of the other vision skills needed for learning such as eye coordination, peripheral awareness, eye/hand coordination, etc. Vision screenings are a useful tool but they shouldn't be a substitute for a complete eye exam.
Changes in vision can occur without you or your child realizing it and without obvious symptoms. Annual eye exams are covered for all children ages 0-18 so there is no reason not to have your child's eyes examined regularly!
Kindergarten students are also able to take part in the Eye See... Eye Learn program which provides free eyeglasses for children who require them.
Be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision problem. Note if your child frequently:
Following a few simple rules can help ensure you are helping to look after your child's eyes the best you can:
After your child's eye exam, glasses, contact lenses or vision therapy may be prescribed. Preventive measures, such as mild prescription lenses to be worn only when doing schoolwork or watching television may also be recommended. These may help relieve stress on your child's eyes.
Vision therapy is prescribed for conditions that cannot be treated with glasses or contact lenses alone. By reinforcing or re-teaching vision skills, conditions such as poor eye coordination, movement, lazy eye and perceptual problems can be improved.
Your care and concern for your child's vision can enrich his or her future while helping develop eye care habits for a lifetime of good vision.