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How Often Should Children Get an Eye Exam?

girl getting eye exam at optometrist

As summer break winds down, parents often focus on buying new backpacks, school supplies and clothes. However, ensuring your child gets a regular eye exam before the school year starts is crucial in setting them up for a successful academic year. Here’s what you need to know.

Timelines For Children's Eye Exams

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends the following timelines for children’s eye exams:

  • Infants and toddlers should undergo their first eye examination between the ages of six and nine months old

  • Preschool children should undergo at least one eye exam between the ages of 2 and 5

  • School-aged children between 6 and 19 years old should undergo an annual eye exam before the school year begins

These regular check-ups are essential because a child’s eyes are continually developing, and early detection of vision problems can prevent academic challenges down the road.

The Importance of Regular Children's Eye Exams

Regular eye exams aren’t just about ensuring your child can see clearly; they’re also crucial for their overall well-being. Here's why:

  • Detect vision problems early. Kids may not always realize they have vision problems. A regular eye exam can detect issues like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even more severe conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye).

  • Improve academic performance. Children rely heavily on their eyesight in the classroom, whether for reading, writing or using a computer. Undetected vision problems can lead to learning difficulties, poor concentration, lower grades and challenges with extracurricular activities.

  • Promote better health. Eye exams can uncover underlying health issues that may not be immediately evident. Conditions like diabetes and multiple sclerosis can be detected through an eye exam.

What Does a Kid’s Eye Exam Include?

A comprehensive children’s eye exam goes beyond reading letters on an eye chart. It includes:

  • A visual acuity test to help assess how well your child can see at various distances

  • A refraction assessment to help determines if your child needs corrective lenses

  • An eye movement and coordination test that evaluates how well the eyes work together

  • An eye health examination that checks for any eye diseases or conditions

  • A pupil response test that evaluates the pupil's reaction to light

  • A colour vision test that helps ensure your child can see and distinguish colours

Signs of Vision Problems in Children

Parents should also be vigilant for signs of potential vision problems between exams. These signs may include:

  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking

  • Squinting or closing one eye when reading or watching TV

  • Holding books or screens very close or far away

  • Complaining of headaches, double vision or eye discomfort

  • Poor hand-eye coordination or difficulty in sports activities

Kids Eye Exam Services in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario

Our network of retail stores offers pediatric eye exams with in-house optometrists. We also carry a wide range of fashionable eyewear your child will love from designer frames to sunglasses. Visit a partner location today for all your family’s eye care needs including locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Red Deer, Mississauga and Toronto.


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