Ontario’s Optometrists Remind Parents to Add an ‘Eye Exam’ to Back to School Checklists

In 2017-18, only 14 per cent of children in Ontario had an eye exam before starting school

To help children start the new school year off right, parents need to have an eye exam at the top of the ‘back-to-school’ checklist.

“Up to 80 per cent of classroom learning is visual, which means your son or daughter could be missing out,” says Dr. Joshua Smith, President of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO). “This is why annual comprehensive eye exams are so important – so that children can see the full picture.”

Children who have trouble seeing can encounter difficulties at school because their motor skills, social development, attention span and ability to read, write and learn may be affected. In some cases, a child can even be misdiagnosed with having behavioral or learning disabilities, because they are unable to see or keep focus, when all they require is a pair of eyeglasses.

Many parents believe that their child would let them know if they were having trouble seeing, but children often can’t identify they have a vision problem because they don’t know what normal vision looks like.

“Children shouldn’t have to face academic, social or athletic limitations due to uncorrected vision problems,” says Dr. Smith. “Booking an eye exam can eliminate these barriers, and ensure children are ready perform their best in the upcoming school year.”

OAO recommends that children have their first eye exam at six months, another at age three, and then every 12 months thereafter, or as recommended by the optometrist.

Find an optometrist near you.

The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is the leading professional organization, representing over 1,700 optometrists. We are dedicated to helping our members provide the highest standard of eye health and vision care for Ontarians while driving the profession of optometry forward.  For more information: optom.on.ca.


Brittany Blow
Ontario Association of Optometrists
905-826-3522 ext. 246

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