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VISION & LEARNING

Did you know that 80% of learning is done through vision? It is vitally important that your child’s eyes are healthy and that their vision stays sharp! 

Kids Corner - Vision and Learning

Visual Milestones

Your child should experience regular visual milestones during their formative years. Though every child is unique, it’s important to keep an eye out to make sure their vision stays sharp and develops well. 

Vision and Learning - Visual Milestones - Birth to 7 months
Vision and Learning - Visual Milestones - Ages 7 months to 2 years
Vision and Learning - Visual Milestones - Ages 2 years to 10 years
Kids Corner - Vision and Learning - Visual Milestones

Birth – 3 mos

Your newborn will go from staring briefly at bright lights and faces to looking toward new sounds and watching a parent’s face when they speak. A newborn’s vision is most stimulated by black and white shapes/lines, where primary colours (red, blue, yellow) and lights are most stimulating in babies around 2-3 months old.

3 mos – 5 mos

Between 3-5 months, your baby’s focus, convergence and 3D vision are developing, so you’ll notice them reaching for nearby objects and they’ll look at the objects in-hand. They are also starting to recognize colours.

5 mos – 7 mos

From 5-7 months, they’ll start looking at objects further in the distance, their eye-hand coordination is developing and their eyes should be straight most of the time. It’s around this age that your baby should have their first eye exam.

7 mos – 12 mos

At this age, your baby will start to find, recognize and move toward objects of interest. You’ll notice them imitating social gestures (smiling, waving, etc) and they pay more attention to books and small objects. Most visual skills like focusing, tracking and depth perception are fully developed.

12 mos – 18 mos

Here you’ll see your child start to show more complex visual behaviours (ex: peek-a-boo). They’ll point to pictures in books and they can find similarities and differences in subjects around them. Their dexterity and motor skills are developing alongside their vision as well (simple building blocks, circular marks with a crayon).

18 mos – 2 yrs

Your child is now about to grip a crayon with more ease and can draw shapes and make vertical and horizontal lines. They can also walk with more stability in all environments (carpet, floors, inclines) because they now understand that shadows and colour affect what they’re looking at (3D vision/depth perception).

2 yrs – 3 yrs

Children now start to recognize more shapes/pictures and even start to copy them. Their motor skills develop further to where they can begin to cut with small scissors, they can run, jump, hop and skip with fewer falls.

4 yrs – 5 yrs

Now your child can remember places, objects and people. They can recognize short words (written) and can draw and colour within the lines, they cut and past simple forms and they can print letters!

6 yrs – 10 yrs

Your young child can now focus on close activities for longer periods, their reading levels improve and fluency is developed. They can print easily and they are now developing greater interest and skills in sports and other activities.

*Information provided by the Ontario Association of Optometrists. 

Signs & Symptoms

Since children lack the experience to know what is normal in terms of vision, they might not know how to properly communicate when they are experiencing visual disturbances. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms that may indicate a sight problem. Does your child:

Signs and Symptoms - Eye Rubbing

› Frequently touch or rub their eye?

› Blink more than usual?

› Have frequently watery eyes?

› Have haziness or whitish hue inside the pupil?

Signs and Symptoms - Squinting

› Squint or frown when looking far or near?

› Hold objects very close to their face?

› Have to touch things to help recognize them?

› Turn or tilt their head when viewing objects?

› Have difficulty making eye contact?

Signs and Symptoms - Eye Turn

› Has one eye that looks turned in or out?

› Dislike near tasks?

› Move their head or skip lines/words when reading?

› Trip, fall or bump into things often?

Did you know?

Undiagnosed vision issues can affect school-age children and their tasks in the classroom, such as reading, copying from the blackboard, participating in classroom activities and discussions and maintaining attention and concentration.

Kids say the darndest things…

Your child might be experiencing visual disturbances, but can’t quite explain them properly. Your child may describe what they’re experiencing in the following ways:

  • They may say that their eyes “hurt” or are “itchy” when really, they are experiencing blurred vision.
  • They may say that the objects or letters they are looking at are “moving” or are “spiky”.
  • They may say that they don’t like doing certain activities that require focus and concentration.

When should I book my child’s first eye exam? 

Babies should first be seen at 6 months of age, to ensure that their eyes and vision are developing normally. If all is well, the next appointment should be at 3 years old, and then at yearly intervals. OHIP will cover eye exam fees for children once every 12 months until the age of 19 inclusively. 

If at any time your child is showing signs of vision issues or medical issues with their eyes (such as infections or pain in the eye), contact our offices to book a visit so we can address the issue directly.

ACTIVITIES & TIPS!

There are certain activities you can include to help your child’s vision develop properly. For all ages, it’s important to remember to eat a healthy diet and get adequate rest. It’s also important to wear UV protected sunglasses since kids spend much more time looking up and toward the sun (they are tiny-humans after all).

INFANTS & TODDLERS

Use toys that move, mirrors and mobiles to stimulate vision

Use board books with bright colours and big, simple pictures

Play peek-a-boo

Use everyday items with bright colours and contrast

YOUNGER KIDS

Use puzzles, mazes, dot-to-dot, eye-spy and block games to stimulate vision

Read together every day

Limit screen time to 2 hours a day

OLDER KIDS

Take 5-minute rest breaks for computer sessions every 30-40 minutes

Use proper screen brightness and contrast

Alternate computer activities with fun (preferably outdoor) activities

Use good lighting, posture and viewing distance

Signs & Symptoms

Since children lack the experience to know what is normal in terms of vision, they might not know how to properly communicate when they are experiencing visual disturbances. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms that may indicate a sight problem. Does your child:

Vision and Learning - Signs and Symptoms

› Frequently touch or rub their eye?

› Blink more than usual?

› Have frequently watery eyes?

› Have haziness or whitish hue inside the pupil?

› Squint or frown when looking far or near?

› Hold objects very close to their face?

› Have to touch things to help recognize them?

› Turn or tilt their head when viewing objects?

› Have difficulty making eye contact?

› Has one eye that looks turned in or out?

› Dislike near tasks?

› Move their head or skip lines/words when reading?

› Trip, fall or bump into things often?

Activities and Tips!

There are certain activities you can include to help your child’s vision develop properly. For all ages, it’s important to remember to eat a healthy diet and get adequate rest. It’s also important to wear UV protected sunglasses since kids spend much more time looking up and toward the sun (they are tiny-humans after all).


INFANTS & TODDLERS

  • Use toys that move, mirrors and mobiles to stimulate vision
  • Use board books with bright colours and big, simple pictures
  • Play peek-a-boo
  • Use everyday items with bright colours and contrast

YOUNGER KIDS

  • Use puzzles, mazes, dot-to-dot, eye-spy and block games to stimulate vision
  • Read together every day
  • Limit screen time to 2 hours a day

OLDER KIDS

  • Take 5-minute rest breaks for computer sessions every 30-40 minutes
  • Use proper screen brightness and contrast
  • Alternate computer activities with fun (preferably outdoor) activities
  • Use good lighting, posture and viewing distance

Did you know?

Undiagnosed vision issues can affect school-age children and their tasks in the classroom, such as reading, copying from the blackboard, participating in classroom activities and discussions and maintaining attention and concentration.

Kids say the darndest things…

Your child might be experiencing visual disturbances, but can’t quite explain them properly. Your child may describe what they’re experiencing in the following ways:

  • They may say that their eyes “hurt” or are “itchy” when really, they are experiencing blurred vision.
  • They may say that the objects or letters they are looking at are “moving”.
  • They may say that they don’t like doing certain activities that require focus and concentration.

When should I book my child’s first eye exam? 

Babies should first be seen at 6 months of age, to ensure that their eyes and vision are developing normally. If all is well, the next appointment should be at 3 years old, and then at yearly intervals. OHIP will cover eye exam fees for children once every 12 months until the age of 19 inclusively. 

If at any time your child is showing signs of vision issues or medical issues with their eyes (such as infections or pain in the eye), contact our offices to book a visit so we can address the issue directly.

Kids Corner - Eye See... Eye Learn

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT

Eye See… Eye Learn?

Eye See… Eye Learn is an Ontario based program that provides a complimentary eye exam and a free pair of glasses for children in junior kindergarten. We are proud to participate in such an amazing program!

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