Eye exam: when to consult?

Posted by Pascale de Montigny on

In primary school, more than one child in five does not have the optimal visual abilities to ensure their learning and academic success. While the majority (80%) of the acquisition of knowledge passes through the visual system during the first 12 years of the child [1] , early detection is essential. Do we have to wait for certain signs before having your child assessed?

What are the signs to look out for in a child?

While 61% of Canadian parents mistakenly think they can detect their child's visual problems, how can they be better equipped? [2] Eye examination is recommended around the age of three, even if there are no signs. However, you can have your child screened at any time, from the age of 6 months. “The signs to watch out for are an eye that squints inwards, a child who squints a lot, who bumps into objects, who brings objects closer to his face, explains Yves Michaud, optometrist at Maison Philémon . Before age 7 is a critical period for eye development. If both eyes are not as strong as each other, one of them may become lazy. It is therefore important to detect as early as possible to allow the brain to develop properly. »

"My child does not like to wear his glasses"

Does your child tend to forget or lose their glasses? “If he needs glasses all day, it's important that he put them on his face in the morning, advises Sophie Perrier-Côté, optician owner at Philémon Maison d'Optique. Why not store them in a hard case on his bedside table? If he has a lighter prescription, he can keep them in his backpack. A reminder bracelet can help him not to forget them in his routine. An elastic cord behind the head can also prevent him from taking them off at any time. »

To facilitate the acceptance of glasses, it is recommended to do eye exams very early. “At the daycare, the educators have time to help them wear their glasses, by doing crafts on this theme, for example. Above all, parents should watch their reaction when they hear the news. Children are sponges, so if their parents have a negative reaction, it will color their eyes. »

What does the first exam look like?

Eye examination is very fun. “We use games, puppets, three-dimensional glasses and lights to attract children's attention,” says Michaud. The exam is very quick, about ten minutes. As children's eyes have a very high capacity to force, we sometimes insert drops in the eyes in order to measure the hidden prescriptions. To reassure the youngest, we have a Manimo stuffed animal, and for more anxious children or children with special needs, we lend them a stress ball . »

Good to know

In Quebec, the eye examination of children under 18 by an optometrist is covered by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). They also benefit from $250 for the purchase of glasses and contact lenses, every two years. The only charge is the drops, if needed.

To read more: How to protect children's eyes?

[1] OOQ, retrieved from: www.ooq.org/fr/la-vision-et-lenfant

[2] OOQ, retrieved from: www.ooq.org/fr/la-vision-et-lenfant

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