Back to School? Time to Get Their Eyes Checked!

eye-122707_640When Middlest started Junior Kindergarten (five years ago!), his teacher asked us if he’d had his eyes checked.

No, we said.  We should get on that, since we both wear glasses.

Poor kid.  Not only did he need glasses, he needed a really strong prescription.  I will never forget the mix of humour and guilt I felt when he walked around the optometrist’s with his new glasses, saying, “Look at the carpet, Mum!  It has patterns!”

Thank goodness his teacher had asked us.  There was nothing in his day-to-day activity or behaviour that had indicated that he was (so badly) in need of glasses.  He didn’t know he was supposed to be able to see more clearly, and we had not noticed anything to draw our attention to his weak vision.

If your little ones are starting school for the first time this week, and if you have not had their vision tested, please consider doing so sooner rather than later.  The really great news is that now, their first pair of glasses could be provided for free.

The Ontario Association of Optometrists has launched a children’s vision program, Eye See…Eye Learn®, in Toronto, a program that will provide free glasses to Junior Kindergarten children.

The information below is from their press release:

More than 25 per cent of Ontario children have vision problems, yet according to 2013 government data, only 10 per cent received a comprehensive eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry before the age of four.  On July 1, 2014, Eye See…Eye Learn®, a not-for-profit program designed to detect, diagnose and treat children with vision problems, will launch a campaign to provide free eye exams and glasses to Junior Kindergarten children in Toronto.

“The integration of Eye See…Eye Learn® into the Toronto market is a direct result of the program’s success elsewhere in the province,” said Dr. Farooq Khan, President, Ontario Association of Optometrists. “While children rarely complain about vision problems, or are even aware of them, statistics show the correlation between education and eyes – nearly 25 per cent of children have a vision problem, many of which are thought to have a learning disability. The Eye See…Eye Learn® program will reduce these mislabeled children and ensure that they have the best chance to succeed in school.”

Through Eye See…Eye Learn®, children starting Junior Kindergarten in Toronto this fall will join thousands of other students across the province that are eligible for one free pair of glasses with their annual OHIP eye exam, if prescribed, through participating Doctors of Optometry. Every child in Ontario who has a valid Ontario Health Card is entitled to an annual OHIP-insured eye exam by a Doctor of Optometry, up until age 19.

Eye See…Eye Learn® is funded in part by the Government of Ontario and administered by the Ontario Association of Optometrists, in conjunction with over 40 school boards, community and industry partners. Further information is available at EyeSeeEyeLearn.ca.

 

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