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Children's Eye Care

Taking your children for regular eye exams is important because if your child is not seeing clearly, his or her ability to learn is being compromised. Pediatric eye care incorporates special techniques and technology to ensure accurate testing and help us accommodate young children. 


Pediatric Eye Exams in Northwest and Southwest Calgary

According to experts, 80% of learning is visual, which means that if your child is having difficulty seeing clearly, his or her learning can be affected. This is especially true for infants who develop and learn about the world around them through their sense of sight. To ensure that your children have the visual resources they need to grow and develop normally, their eyes and vision should be checked by our NW & SW Calgary eye doctors at certain stages of their development.

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 months, 3 years, at the start of school, and then annually from ages 6-18 years. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as premature birth, crossed or lazy eyes, developmental delays, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. 

Eye Exams in Infants: Birth – 24 Months

A baby’s visual system develops gradually over the first few months of life. This is when they learn to focus and move their eyes and use them together as a team. The brain also needs to learn how to process visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. The foundation for motor development such as crawling, walking and hand-eye coordination also comes with the development of eyesight.

You can ensure that your baby is reaching milestones by keeping an eye on what is happening with your infant’s development and by ensuring that you schedule a comprehensive infant eye examination at 6 months. There is much that can be determined at this stage and during the exam, the eye doctor will check that the child is developing on track and seeing properly, and will look for conditions that could impair eye health or vision, such as strabismus (misalignment or crossing of the eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism.

Since there is a higher risk of eye and vision problems if your infant was born premature or is showing signs of developmental delay, your child may require more frequent visits to one of Blink's NW & SW Calgary eye clinics to keep watch on his or her progress.

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Eye Check-Up in Preschool Children: 2-5

The toddler and preschool age is a period when children experience dramatic growth in intellectual and motor skills. It is during this time that children develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and perceptual abilities that prepare them to read and write, play sports and participate in creative activities, which are all dependent upon good vision and visual processes.

This is the age when parents should be on the lookout for signs of lazy eye (amblyopia) – when one eye doesn’t see clearly, or crossed eyes (strabismus) – when one or both eyes turn inward or outward. The earlier these conditions are treated, the higher the success rate.

Parents should also pay attention to any developmental delays having to do with number or letter recognition, colour recognition, reaching for objects, or coordination, as the root of such problems can often be visual. If you notice your child squinting, rubbing his eyes frequently, sitting very close to the television or reading material, or generally avoiding activities such as puzzles or colouring, it is worth a trip to Blink Eyewear.

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Eye Exams in School-Aged Kids: Ages 6-18

Undetected or uncorrected vision problems can cause children and teens to suffer academically, socially, athletically and personally. If your child is having trouble in school or after-school activities there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills are dependent upon not only good vision but also the ability of your eyes to work together. Children that have problems with reading, focusing, or hand-eye coordination will often experience frustration and may exhibit behavioural problems as well. Often they don’t know that the vision they are experiencing is abnormal, so they aren’t able to express that they need help.

In addition to the symptoms written above, signs of vision problems in older children include:

  • Short attention span
  • Frequent blinking
  • Headaches
  • Avoiding reading
  • Losing their place often while reading
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Double vision

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The Eye Exam At Blink Eyewear

In addition to basic visual acuity (distance and near vision, or refractive errors) an eye exam may assess the following visual skills that are required for learning and mobility:

  • Binocular vision: how the eyes work together as a team
  • Focusing
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Colour Vision
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Tracking

The doctor will also examine the area around the eye and inside the eye to check for any eye diseases or health conditions. You should tell the doctor any relevant personal history of your child such as premature birth, developmental delays, family history of eye problems, eye injuries or medications the child is taking and share any concerns or issues your child has that might indicate a vision problem.

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Children’s Eyeglasses, Contacts & Other Treatments

If the eye doctor determines that your child has a vision problem, they may discuss a number of therapeutic options such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, an eye patch, vision therapy or Ortho-k, depending on the condition. Some conditions are much easier to treat when they are caught early while the eyes are still developing, so it is important to diagnose any eye and vision issues as early as possible.

Following the guidelines for children’s eye exams and staying alert to any signs of vision problems can help your child to reach his or her potential.

 

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Vision plays a crucial role throughout childhood and beyond.  Contact us or drop by one of our locations at West Springs, Creekside, or Crowfoot to ensure your child receives the eye care they need. We are here for your family.
 

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