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EYE EXAMS FOR KIDS

Did you know that children do not need to know the alphabet to have their eyes examined? The optometrist has several child-friendly ways to measure and assess their vision!

Kids Corner - Eye Exams for Children
Kids Corner - Eye Exams for Children

How kids eye exams are different

Eye exams for kids may differ in technique, but essentially the Optometrist is testing for all the same things they do for adults. And since we want to make both you and your child comfortable, we put in every effort for their eye exam to be friendly and fun so that they are excited to come back for routine check-ups!

1. History

The Eye Doctor reviews any medical history/family medical history with you.

2. Eye health

This part of the eye exam doesn’t vary very much in terms of “how it’s done” except to know that the Optometrist is trained in keeping your child’s attention and focus while they examine the health of the inside of the eye. The same lights and instruments are used for children as they are for adults.

3. Visual Acuity

To evaluate the clarity/sharpness of vision of your child, the Doctor has a variety of ways to obtain the information. Where adults are asked to identify letters that get smaller and smaller, children are shown pictures of simple objects or shapes instead. This makes it much more interesting for children and easier for them to understand.

4. Refraction (prescription)

With babies and very young children (that aren’t able to speak yet), there are instruments available (such as a retinoscope or another named  “Plusoptix”) that provides the Optometrist with a reliable baseline refraction; a general measurement indicating if there is a need to further evaluate for glasses. This amazing technology allows us to detect prescription needs for children as young as 6 months old.

5. Binocularity (how the eyes work together)

For this part of the eye exam, the doctors have a variety of methods available to best assess how your child’s eyes focus together and how the muscle balance is developing. From toys to lights and books with bright coloured pictures and shapes, we ensure that your child is comfortable telling the Doctor what they see and how they see it.

6. Depth perception

Depth perception is an interactive test where your child wears fun 3-D glasses! If your child’s eyes are working well as a team then they will be able to identify shapes that seem to pop out at them. This test will give the doctor insight if the eyes are working well together or if one eye is working harder than the other.

7. Colour testing

Testing for colour deficiency is easy and fun! Your child gets to look at images designed for the typical eye to easily depict a colourful design or number on the page. A child with colour deficiency won’t be able to distinguish what they should, if anything at all.

8. Eye care plan

At the end of the eye exam, the Optometrist will review any prescription needs or follow up appointments required with you and your child. For first-time visits, your child will receive an activity booklet and a report booklet with the results of the eye exam! This is a great way for kids to stay excited about their visit to the optometrist once a year, and it also keeps a good record for parents at home.

Common Vision Conditions

Information provided by the Ontario Association of Optometry.
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    MYOPIA

    Kids with myopia (or nearsightedness) have trouble seeing across the room and far away, resulting in blurry vision. Myopia often causes squinting when looking at blackboard or television, or during outdoor activities. We now have a Myopic Control Program with various options to help decrease the fast progression of Myopia in children. Find out more here »

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    HYPEROPIA

    Commonly referred to as farsightedness, Hyperopia requires more effort to see clearly up close. It may cause headaches fatigue, blurred vision, aching or burning eyes and reduced concentration and reading ability.

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    ASTIGMATISM

    Astigmatism is a refractive error where vision is blurred or distorted at all distances. It may be present along with Hyperopia or Myopia and can cause headaches and eyestrain, especially in high-concentration situations.

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    STRABISMUS

    Commonly referred to as “crossed or wandering eye”, Strabismus is when one or both eyes turn in, out, up or down. It may cause double vision or poor depth perception and kids might compensate by turning or tilting their heads or closing one eye.

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    AMBLYOPIA

    Better known as “lazy eye”, Amblyopia is where one or both eyes are not able to see normally even with glasses. It is caused by Strabismus or high refractive error that is not identified and treated at a young age. Treatment is most effective at a young age but it is still available to older children, teens and adults.

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    EYE COORDINATION DISORDER

    This is a weakness in eye alignment and depth perception. Eye Coordination Disorder may cause double vision, headaches and eye and body fatigue. It requires extra effort for demanding visual activities (writing, copying, reading…) and can affect behaviour in the classroom (inattention, avoidance, opposition or hyperactivity).

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    ACCOMMODATION DISORDER (FOCUSING)

    Here there is a weakness in changing focus between distances or in holding focus on near tasks. Accommodation disorder causes blurred close vision while reading or blurred vision when looking away after reading. It can lead to headaches, fatigue and cause concentration issues.

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    EYE TRACKING DISORDER

    Kids with Eye Tracking Disorder have inefficient eye movements (slow pursuits or following movements, or rapid eye movement between fixation points). They may move their head excessively, skip lines and lose their place when reading. It can also cause problems with handwriting, eye-hand coordination and copying. It may also cause poor coordination for sports. 

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    COLOUR VISION DEFICIENCY

    Colour deficiency occurs when your ability to distinguish colours and shades is different than normal. Children who are colour deficient are generally unaware of their condition. They assume that everyone sees things the same way. During a comprehensive eye exam, the Optometrist can detect a colour deficiency issue and help your child adapt to their condition.

Common Vision Conditions

Information provided by the Ontario Association of Optometry.
  • null

    MYOPIA

    Kids with myopia (or nearsightedness) have trouble seeing across the room and far away, resulting in blurry vision. Myopia often causes squinting when looking at blackboard or television, or during outdoor activities. We now have a Myopic Control Program with various options to help decrease the fast progression of Myopia in children. Find out more here »

  • null

    HYPEROPIA

    Commonly referred to as farsightedness, Hyperopia requires more effort to see clearly up close. It may cause headaches fatigue, blurred vision, aching or burning eyes and reduced concentration and reading ability.

  • null

    ASTIGMATISM

    Astigmatism is a refractive error where vision is blurred or distorted at all distances. It may be present along with Hyperopia or Myopia and can cause headaches and eyestrain, especially in high-concentration situations.

  • null

    STRABISMUS

    Commonly referred to as “crossed or wandering eye”, Strabismus is when one or both eyes turn in, out, up or down. It may cause double vision or poor depth perception and kids might compensate by turning or tilting their heads or closing one eye.

  • null

    AMBLYOPIA

    Better known as “lazy eye”, Amblyopia is where one or both eyes are not able to see normally even with glasses. It is caused by Strabismus or high refractive error that is not identified and treated at a young age. Treatment is most effective at a young age but it is still available to older children, teens and adults.

  • null

    EYE COORDINATION DISORDER

    This is a weakness in eye alignment and depth perception. Eye Coordination Disorder may cause double vision, headaches and eye and body fatigue. It requires extra effort for demanding visual activities (writing, copying, reading…) and can affect behaviour in the classroom (inattention, avoidance, opposition or hyperactivity).

  • null

    ACCOMMODATION DISORDER (FOCUSING)

    Here there is a weakness in changing focus between distances or in holding focus on near tasks. Accommodation disorder causes blurred close vision while reading or blurred vision when looking away after reading. It can lead to headaches, fatigue and cause concentration issues.

  • null

    EYE TRACKING DISORDER

    Kids with Eye Tracking Disorder have inefficient eye movements (slow pursuits or following movements, or rapid eye movement between fixation points). They may move their head excessively, skip lines and lose their place when reading. It can also cause problems with handwriting, eye-hand coordination and copying. It may also cause poor coordination for sports. 

  • null

    COLOUR VISION DEFICIENCY

    Colour deficiency occurs when your ability to distinguish colours and shades is different than normal. Children who are colour deficient are generally unaware of their condition. They assume that everyone sees things the same way. During a comprehensive eye exam, the Optometrist can detect a colour deficiency issue and help your child adapt to their condition.

My child had a vision screening at school. Is that enough?

The simple answer is no, it’s not. Screenings involve only a limited number of simple tests that cannot detect all vision and health problems. It is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam by an Optometrist.

Kids Corner - Vision and Learning - School Screenings

FACT

43% of children with vision problems are able to pass a simple screening.

Kids Corner - Visual Milestones

How often should kids have eye exams?

Kids should have their first eye exam at 6 months old, then starting at 3 years old and every year thereafter. OHIP will cover the cost of eye exams for children once every 12 months up until the age of 19 (inclusively).

My kid wants to wear contact lenses…

Contact lenses can be a great option for kids! See what the benefits can be for your child.

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O T T A W A

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Ottawa, ON K1L 1A9
(613) 749-0481
ottawa@nuvoeyes.ca

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