Not all eye health concerns are a result of aging. A large number of children experience vision problems before puberty, and since 80 percent of learning material is presented visually, catching and correcting these problems is crucial to ensuring the academic success of your child.
Your child may require an eye exam as early as 6 months of age but is recommended by age 3, and just before they enter kindergarten (age 5 or 6). Once your child is in school, you should bring them in for an eye exam every one or two years.
Also known as nearsightedness, myopia affects about 28 percent of Canadian children between the ages of 6 and 13 - and that number is growing. Myopia is a refractive error which occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved. Most children wear glasses to correct myopia; however, atropine treatments can be effective to slow the progression.
These conditions both affect the ability of the eyes to work together as a team (or “eye teaming”). Strabismus is when the eyes are misaligned, usually due to the muscles in one eye not quite forming correctly. Strabismus correction can involve glasses, vision training, prismatic correction and sometimes requires surgery to correct it. Uncorrected strabismus can lead to amblyopia.
Amblyopia is when the brain starts ignoring information from one eye and it drifts off to a different angle. This is what people usually refer to as a “lazy eye”. Children do not grow out of amblyopia; it usually requires vision therapy or patching.
There are different kinds of conjunctivitis, but the one most common in children is bacterial conjunctivitis. This infection is characterized by red, itchy eyes secreting a sticky yellow or green discharge. Because children experience the world with their hands, they’re at a higher risk of infecting their eyes with bacteria. Conjunctivitis is also highly contagious, so it can spread quickly through schools and daycares.
When children come in for an exam, we do everything we can to make them feel comfortable and engaged. Our special testing processes help us determine what vision problems children may be experiencing, even if they can’t articulate the experiences for themselves. We check their acuity, eye teaming, and peripheral vision; making sure their eyesight is strong and ready to support their learning.
Kids should feel comfortable and confident in their glasses. We stock a number of popular children’s’ frames from reputable brands. Your child will love their new look, and you’ll love sending them to school, knowing you’ve given them all the tools they need to succeed.
We also carry kids sports eyewear, so your child can play hard and see clearly.
Tutt Street Optometry is proud to support the BC Children’s Low Vision Project. Through this program, visually impaired students are assessed and provided with the technology they need to succeed in the classroom.
Eye See… Eye Learn provides kindergarten-aged children with free eye exams and prescribed correction before they enter school. This way, from day one, they have everything they need to thrive. We are proud to participate in Eye See… Eye Learn.
Come see us for yourself. We’re located Kelowna’s Pandosy Village District, across from Raymer Elementary School.