Silent Suffering: Your Child May Have An Undiagnosed Vision Problem

Time to get your child's eyes checked to make sure they are seeing the world with 20/20 vision!


Did you know that 25 percent of children have a vision problem that is serious enough to impair their ability to learn? If your child is experiencing learning difficulties, you may want to consider the possibility that they are suffering from eye-related health concerns.

This all may seem like common knowledge, and that you and your child’s teacher would know if your child was suffering from impaired vision. Certainly you have been watching out for the most common signs of vision impairment, such as frequent rubbing of the eyes, short attention span, poor reading, squinting, frequent headaches and a drop in performance at school and at sports activities. However, vision impairment issues can be accompanied by more subtle signs too, which is indicated by the fact that 60 percent of children with literary difficulties have an undiagnosed vision problem. It is not uncommon to miss the signs of vision problems in your child.

Considering the basic vision tests that are done to detect eye health issues in children, you would probably expect that your child, having passed this test, would not be in need of more detailed tests. Yet, another startling statistic shows that 1 in 4 children with vision issues are able to pass a basic screening test.

Only a comprehensive eye exam can fully unearth the extent of vision impairment. But with children passing basic screening tests with satisfactory results that deem further examination unnecessary, it is no wonder then that thousands of children begin school without ever having a comprehensive eye exam.

The importance of sending one’s child for comprehensive eye exams cannot be underestimated. For many families it may be a case where parents and guardians cannot afford to send their children for the tests they need, or they cannot afford prescription lenses.

Fortunately, the Ontario Association of Optometrists has implemented the Eye See Eye Learn program, which provides comprehensive eye exams by local optometrists to junior kindergarten students in participating school regions. This is a not-for profit program, funded in part by the Government of Ontario. When you show your child’s health card, the costs of the exam are fully covered by provincial health insurance (or OHIP).  Glasses are provided free of charge by Nikon Lenswear, OGI and your participating Doctor of Optometry. The value of the glasses is estimated at over $250.

The program has already been active outside of the Greater Toronto Area and has now launched in Toronto as of July 1st.

Undiagnosed eye health issues can seriously impair your child’s quality of life and their ability to move forward in their development. Whether you believe your child may be suffering from vision impairment or not, it is still worth sending them for comprehensive eye exams. Help spread awareness of this issue among friends and family, and let them know about the Eye See Eye Learn initiative which may be of assistance. Every child should be able to start school on the right note and that starts with clear sight. 

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