The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that your child's first eye exam be at 6 months of age. You might be thinking, well my child can't speak or respond at this age, what will we get out of the eye exam? Vision is not fully developped at birth, and we require positive feedback for the vision ceneters within the brain to continue developping properly after birth. This means that if your child has poor vision in one eye due to a high prescription, visible or non-visible eye turn or ocular disease, the brain will not develop proper vision in one eye or both.
As your child gets older this may cause slow development, or may not show any signs. The damage can be quite severe, causing vision loss in one or both eyes that cannot be corrected with glasses. The great news is that if caught early we can prevent this from occuring. If caught too late the patient will require patching and vision therapy to get the vision up. Poor vision in one eye often goes completely un-noticed until you have an eye exam, but this can cause problems such as:
lack of depth perception (3D Vision)
poor reading skills
poor sports skills
decreased learning skills
costmetic changes (ex. eye turn) leading to low confidence
if your child has trauma in the good eye, they may not have good enough vision in the bad eye to drive
As this is easily reversed when your child is very young, or can be completely avoided if the child has their eye exam at 6 months it is really important to get their eyes tested. We use fun objective measures, meaning we use our tools to measure your child's prescription, check for an eye turns, check that all eye muslcles are working, check for neurological problems connected to vision, and ensure there is no health concerns.
Please remember that while your Paediatrician is fantastic for general care of your child, only a Doctor of Optometry has all the tools and knowledge to check your little one's eyes. We love working with your health team, so please let us know the name of your Paeditrician and we are happy to send them a report.
Children up to the age of 19 are covered under OHIP for a full eye exam, and are covered for any emergencies inbetween. The best time to bring your tiny ones is right after nap time and feeding time, right when they are awake and interactive.