Pediatrics/Children's Eye Exams


80% of learning is visual. Clear, comfortable vision is important for learning and development. 

25% of children have an eye condition. Unlike adults, most children are unable to notice a change in their vision or communicate a change in vision to their parents. Therefore, regular eye examinations are important. 

There are a number of serious eye conditions that can occur in children. If left uncorrected, these conditions can result in poor visual development. These conditions, include:

 

  • Strabismus (crossed eye) - One eye may be turned in or out relative to the other eye. It is important that this is diagnosed and treated early. If left untreated, the eye that is misaligned can become lazy (amblyopia) and develop poor visual clarity and a lack of depth perception. Strabismus can be treated with glasses, vision therapy, surgery, etc.
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye) -  is a poorer seeing eye that results from improper visual development. If detected and treated at an early age, amblyopia will often resolve completely with eyeglasses, patching, etc.  If left untreated, amblyopia can lead to poor vision in the affected eye.

When should your child have their first eye examinations? 

The Canadian Assocation of Optometrists (CAO) recommends that the first eye examination should be between 6-9 months of age.

How often should children have a complete eye examination?

Annually. As children grow, their eyes also grow and develop. Depth perception, eye-hand coordination and other visual skills develop. It is important to regularly track the health and development of the eyes much like regular physical examinations. 

Is a child's eye examination different from an adult's eye examination?

Different eye examination techniques are used for children versus adults. These specific techniques, allow for evaluation of child specific eye problems without the necessity of direct input, unlike an adult eye examination. 

What are some symptoms that indicate my child may have a vision problem?

  • Red, itchy or watering eyes
  • Sensitivity to lights
  • An eye that turns in or away from the nose
  • Tilting the head to one side or having an unusual posture
  • Squinting, rubbing the eyes, or excessive blinking
  • A lack of concentration in school or on homework
  • Covering or closing one eye
  • Holding objects very close to the face
  • Avoiding books and TV
  • Tired eyes or pressure/strain around the eyes on homework. 

Is a complete eye examination for children covered under OHIP?

OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) covers children for 1 complete eye examination each year from 0-19 years of age.

However, OHIP does not cover the following:

  • Eye health imaging/retinal photos.
  • Additional eye examinations or second opinions.
  • Eye examinations that are required by potential employers or other third parties.
  • Contact lens fitting or evaluations.
  • Laser refractive surgery management (pre- and post-operative) visits.
  • Eyeglasses, contact lenses, low vision aids, binocular vision services, vision therapy/eye co-ordination exercises.