First Kid's Eye Exam Coming Up? Here's What to Expect and Know Beforehand

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Uncorrected vision problems can be a significant academic barrier for school-aged children. This is why it's so vital to get your kid's eyes examined at least once every year. Here's what you can expect when you do and what you need to know before the appointment takes place.

If your child loves picture books, cartoons, maps, or your tablet, then they're most likely one of the 83 per cent of people who are visual learners. But if they have an uncorrected vision problem, then you may notice that they start struggling with their schoolwork or underperforming in the classroom. 

Some of the top signs that your child has a vision problem include:

  • Rubbing their eyes frequently
  • Squinting
  • Tilting their head or covering one eye
  • Holding handheld devices too close or sitting too close to the TV
  • Trouble focusing on their schoolwork
  • Complaining about eye pain or headaches

Because kids don't know what proper vision looks like as we adults do, it's important that you take them to your local optometrist at the first sign of any of the above symptoms. Even if they're not displaying any of these signs, you should be getting their eyes examined at least once every two years during their school-age years.

The best part? Children who are 18 and younger are covered by the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) and are eligible for one complete eye exam, one partial exam, and one diagnostic procedure every benefit year (which runs from July 1 to June 30).

Affordable Eye Exams in Calgary for All Ages

Specs in the City Optometry provides children, adult, and senior eye exams in SE Calgary to help safeguard your sight and overall ocular health. Our experienced optometrists use the latest technology to quickly and accurately diagnose any eye conditions you may be suffering from, so treatment may commence right away. Contact us today to book your eye exam or children's eye exam, and let us help you and your whole family continue to see clearly and comfortably!

Contact Specs in the City

What to Expect at Your Kid's First Eye Exam

A recent study carried out by the Canadian Association of Optometry found that 10 per cent of preschoolers have a vision deficiency. For kids who are in kindergarten to grade 6, that number rises to 25 per cent. Given how more than 80 per cent of us are visual learners, these undiagnosed and untreated vision deficiencies in our kids can make learning at school a lot more difficult for them. 

Your child's first eye exam should occur between 6 and 12 months. After that, it's recommended you get their eyes checked once a year because of how quickly these little humans develop. Since the cost is covered by AHCIP, you simply need to carve out some time in your schedule and book an annual eye exam for your child with your favourite Calgary optometrist. Here's what you can expect when you and your child arrive for the appointment.

Three Main Elements Evaluated

Depending on the age of your child, how their eye exam is carried out will vary. But whether they're an infant or a teen, your optometrist will always evaluate three main elements during the exam. They are:

  1. The health of their eyes
  2. If their vision is developing properly
  3. If their vision is functional, based on the specific needs of the child
Infant and Early Toddler Eye Exams

The eye exams that are carried out for infants and early toddlers are objective in nature since the children cannot easily communicate with your optometrist, or they may be shy. As with all other eye exams, your Calgary eye doctor will evaluate your infant's eyes to make sure they are healthy, clear of any disease, and developing normally. 

Infant eye exams usually examine:

  • Their fixation and visual acuity by using a target to see if the infant follows it properly
  • Whether their eyes are aligned properly by conducting a cover test (which checks for amblyopia/lazy eye)
  • Eye coordination
  • Any indication of eye diseases
  • Any indication of refractive error
  • Their eye pressure
  • The front and back tissue of the eyes
Late Toddler and Child Eye Exams

As children grow, so too do the demands they place on their vision to perform well at school and navigate everyday life. Children's eye exams differ from infant eye exams in the sense that they start to include subjective assessments, which means their input will be used to guide the optometrist's determinations when evaluating their eyes. Their eye exams will also place a greater emphasis on their functional vision as it pertains to their time in the classroom.

In addition to all the evaluations carried out during an infant eye exam, late toddler and child eye exams include looking for any signs of:

  • Problems with their eye health
  • Vision deficiencies like farsightedness or nearsightedness by performing reading vision and distant vision tests
  • Colour vision deficiencies (colourblindness)

How to Choose the Right Optometrist for Your Family's Needs

How to Prepare Your Kid for Their Eye Exam

One of the best ways you can prepare your child for their eye exam and get them excited for it is to explain to them how much fun it will be. Most optometrists excel at working with children and make the overall experience an enjoyable one by including game-like activities, puppets, or other kid-friendly examination tools to help keep the child engaged and comfortable throughout the entire process. Simply put, your child just needs to be their usual carefree and happy go lucky self, since an eye exam should fit right in with the daily fun they're used to experiencing. 

For your infant or toddler to have the best experience possible at their eye exam, you'll want to make sure they are well-fed and well-rested before the appointment. This will help to keep them awake during the evaluation and ensure they are happy while it's going on. 

Since kids who are younger than five tend to be somewhat shy or non-verbal in the presence of strangers, your optometrist will conduct many of their tests as though they're just a fun game to get your child out of their shell and more engaged. This means a healthy dose of pretending to be Captain Jack Sparrow with eye patches and some great games of eye spy. 

Should you have any further questions about our children's eye exams in Calgary, please don't hesitate to contact us today. We can help set them up for future success both in the classroom and outside of it with our comprehensive eye exams and help safeguard their sight and vision for years to come. Don't forget they're eligible for a free eye exam every year too!

Contact Us Today

If your child needs an eye exam, Specs in the City Optometry has you covered. Simply give us a call at 403-252-2020 or fill out our online contact form to book their assessment and evaluation today.

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