3 Reasons Children Need a Yearly Eye Exam

mommy kat and kids rp2

When I booked a routine eye exam for my two boys a few years ago, I felt a little guilty that at nine and six years old, this was the first vision care eye exam either of them had ever had. But at the same time, I felt like I had no reason to be concerned!

After all, both boys excelled at school, did well in physical activities, were in overall good health, and had shown no signs that they might not be able to see clearly. Scheduling an eye exam was just a way to confirm both had the good vision I was sure they must have.

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Imagine my shock when the doctor told me that my oldest had mild myopia (more commonly referred to as nearsightedness), and could benefit from glasses! Despite his skills in school and sports, despite not having headaches or straining to see, he was slightly nearsighted all the same!

Kids’ eye exams are an essential part of vision care and ensuring overall health, but with so many different appointments and commitments to schedule, it’s no wonder parents of a healthy, thriving child sometimes don’t think to make one. Here are three reasons booking that eye exam appointment is a good idea!

Vision is Essential to School Success

Most parents know that reading helps children excel at school. But that reading doesn’t just mean slogging through a textbook. It means being able to read off the blackboard when sitting at the back of the classroom or being able to glance over at notes during a science experiment. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of the learning that takes place in a classroom is visual.

With my own son, I was lucky that his myopia was mild enough to not effect his schoolwork. My own husband wasn’t so lucky and when he eventually got his first pair of glasses in his tween years, he said it was like being in a whole different world. He put them on and thought, “Oh my gosh, is THIS what everyone sees?!”

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That simple eye exam changed my husband’s learning experience, grades, and confidence level all at once, thanks to his finally being able to properly see in class. And it’s one of the top reasons parents should make that yearly vision care exam a priority!

Myopia Is On the Rise

As smartphones and tablets have grown in popularity, nearsightedness has increased in both children and adults. It makes sense…staring for too long at something close-up when the eyes are developing is thought to weaken the eye’s ability to focus on things that are far away. Early detection is important, though, because there are ways of treating and even slowing the progression of myopia!

CooperVision MiSight® 1 day soft contact lenses are the newest solution in Canada for children with mild to moderate myopia. The lenses have been shown to slow the progression of myopia by up to 59% in children!1 Since myopia generally stabilizes in the adult years, that can mean a big difference in your child’s eventual quality of life once grown!

And since the lenses are a disposable 1 day lens, they’re the perfect choice for children. Rather than having to worry about cleaning, disinfecting or losing lenses, all a child has to learn to do is put their lenses in and take their lenses out. Visit www.fightmyopia.ca to learn more about how these unique lenses can help nearsightedness!

Minor Eye Issues Can Become Major Ones

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Eye exams are also important because treating an eye issue early can help prevent more serious future problems. Eye issues like myopia may be frustrating for a child trying to learn at school, but they can also sometimes lead to cataracts, glaucoma and detached retina. Highly nearsighted people, for example over -6.00 prescription, have a much higher risk (16 times more!) of retinal detachment. Even a person with a milder -3.25 prescription still has 10 times more risk than someone with no myopia.2

A yearly eye exam doesn’t just help diagnose and treat minor eye conditions; it also lets Eye Care Professionals monitor for any worsening of a child’s eye health and use treatments like CooperVision MiSight® 1 day lenses to help ensure minor eye conditions don’t turn into major ones. And since eye exams are free for children under 18 in most provinces in Canada, getting that yearly exam just makes sense!

Of course, for a young child, the thought of an eye exam can be a scary thing! So, if your little one is having their first vision care exam, make sure to prepare them for it by talking about the different tests the optometrist might do.

Let your child know that there will be things like bright lights and possibly eye drops. But make sure they also know that any discomfort will be temporary and that you’ll be there to support them!

And if your child has been diagnosed with myopia, make sure to ask your Eye Care Professional about CooperVision MiSight® 1 day contact lenses! Learn more at www.fightmyopia.ca and help ensure your child’s eye health is at its best!

References:
1Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, et al. Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016;123(5):1036-1042.
2Flitcroft DI. The complex interactions of retinal, optical and environmental factors in myopia aetiology. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2012;31:622-60

17 thoughts on “3 Reasons Children Need a Yearly Eye Exam”

  1. Florence Cochrane

    Eye exams are so important. My family all wear glasses. Some of us go every two years and others one year to have our eye exams.

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