Eye Exam Time?

When he began Junior Kindergarten, my eldest son had not yet had an eye exam, a fact brought to my attention when his teacher asked us about it during his intake interview.  Since there are only half a dozen standard questions, it struck me as a surprising question.  Surely, I thought, a parent will know if her child has vision problems.


I took him to my optometrist, and you could have knocked me over with a feather when it turned out that he did need glasses.  A mild prescription, but necessary nonetheless.

Fast forward four years, and we are at another JK intake interview.  “Has your son had an eye exam?” 

“Oh, no.  And I should get on that because we both have glasses, and we found out his brother needed glasses after a prompt from his JK teacher.”

It turns out that Rowan needed a much stronger prescription, and this time, I really kicked myself because I had noticed that he wasn’t recognizing letters as well as I thought he should.  The day he got his glasses, he walked around the optician’s store, looking at the pattern in the carpet, and marvelling at what he could finally see.  I wanted to weep because I had missed what he was missing.

Neither family history nor a situation that should have alerted me to a problem got my attention, so I am grateful to the warp and weft of bureaucratic forms and questions that are designed to catch these things. 

A full eye exam can be done from the age of three, and should be done before children begin school.  Here are some other signs that your child might need glasses:

  • family history
  • delayed reading ability or ability to recognize shapes, letters, numbers, etc.
  • squinting
  • headaches
  • rubbing eyes
  • favouring one eye
  • sitting too close to the tv
  • poor coordination (tripping and falling)

Of course, children do not know what normal vision looks like because their vision is normal to them, so an eye exam is the best way to make sure that all is well. (And the best way to avoid the guilt of not catching the problem yourself!)

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3 thoughts on “Eye Exam Time?

  1. I confess I’d never thought of this, Nathalie (and our JK bureaucracy didn’t catch it either). Thanks for the eye-opener (sorry, couldn’t resist).

  2. For what it’s worth, my optometrist recommends getting them in earlier than age 3 if there’s a family history of anything wonky. Not that I’ve gotten around to taking my 2-year-old in yet, mind you…

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