The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) recommends a child’s first eye examination should be at 6 months of age and annual eye examinations starting at 3 years of age. In Saskatchewan, children under age 18 is allowed one free eye exam per year so use Children's Eye Health and Safety Month (August) as a great reminder to get your child's annual check up scheduled.
So what are some of the problems that might occur with your child's vision? Here are a few that an optometrist would look for during an eye exam:
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
- Ptosis (drooping of the eyelid)
- Color deficiency (color blindness)
- Refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism)
- Wandering or crossed eyes
- A family history of childhood vision problems
- Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects
- Squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television
But the most leading causes for vision loss is injury to the eye, with sports activities being one of the top reasons. So it's important to discuss eye safety with your child and set a good example, wearing protective eyewear during sports or recreational activities. Also make sure that your child plays with age appropriate toys and avoid toys with sharp or protruding parts.
Eye health is not always as obvious as other health issues that might pop up, so it's important to have your child's eyes examined annually to make sure you stay on top of any vision problems.