Vision Health Month: The Best Ways To Protect Your Child's Vision

Vision Health Month: The Best Ways To Protect Your Child's Vision

May is Vision Health Month! This month is dedicated to helping Canadians understand the importance of eye health and how it can be maintained throughout life with proper care. This care starts early and teaching your child good ocular habits is a great way to reduce their risk of developing eye conditions later in life as well as getting the best eye care possible as they grow. Eye care comes in many forms, some of which are lifelong habits while others involve annual eye exams and a basic understanding of eye health. Here are some of the main ways you can help protect your child’s vision.

6 Ways To Protect Child’s Eye Health

Encourage Healthy Eating
Nutrition and eye health are intrinsically linked, and eating a variety of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids is an important part of maintaining eye health. One way to encourage healthy eating is by limiting the number of sweets and pre-made meals your child eats, as children become used to and crave the food they are accustomed to eating. Building healthy habits when they’re young will foster future healthy eating that will benefit not only the eyes but also the entire body.

Wear Sunglasses
UV rays are harmful to the eyes. Encouraging your child to wear sunglasses in the summer is a great step to keep their eyes safe from the damaging effects of UV rays, but they should also wear them all year long. UV rays are often intensified in the winter months because they reflect off of the snow. Exposure of the eyes to UV rays can increase your child’s risk of developing eye growths, photokeratitis (sunburn of the eyes), cataracts, and eye cancer. 

Use Protective Eyewear For Sports
Most sport eye injuries are avoidable with the use of safety glasses. The eyes are very delicate and can easily become damaged when hit by a fast object or when debris gets into the eye. For example, baseball diamonds tend to have gravel and dust and these particles can easily become kicked up and get in a child’s eye, leading to a scratched cornea. Baseball also risks the child getting hit in the eye with the ball, resulting in a black eye or more severe blunt trauma impact. Using protective eyewear can keep their eyes safe from all kinds of sports hazards.

Limit Screen Time
Screen usage has been linked to digital eye strain symptoms such as blurry vision, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, watery or dry eyes, sensitivity to light, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping. Reducing screen time as well as encouraging children to take breaks from screen viewing allows them to rest their vision and avoid these symptoms.

Know Your Family Health History
Many eye conditions are hereditary, some of which can be present in young children. Color blindness, strabismus (crossed eyes), and refractive errors are some of the most common hereditary eye conditions that present in children, although your child will also be predisposed to any hereditary eye conditions as they age. Some conditions influenced by genetics are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, glaucoma, and night blindness. It is important to discuss your family history with your pediatric optometrist so they know what your child is at greater risk for and can monitor any potential eye conditions.

Schedule Children’s Eye Exams
Children should have their first eye exam by the time they’re 6 months old. While this may seem young, it is actually a critical time to have the eyes examined, as severe eye issues such as retinoblastoma (cancer of the retina) can develop in the first year. Having this initial 6-month eye exam allows the eye doctor to ensure the eye is developing correctly without any major eye conditions. After this, your child should receive an eye exam at ages 3 and 5 and after that eye exams should be annual. Regular children’s eye exams ensure the detection and treatment of any eye conditions that develop but they also ensure that your child’s prescription is up to date since their eyes quickly change compared to adults.

Children’s Eye Exams In Calgary

This Vision Health Month, schedule a children’s eye exam to ensure the ocular wellness of your child now and going forward. At Specs in the City, our Calgary eye doctors are highly experienced working with children and can assess your child’s eye health from baby’s first eye exam to the end of their teenage years. Our knowledgeable pediatric optometrists will search for any eye conditions, ensure their prescription is up to date, and discuss eye health with you. The team at Specs in the City can then fit your child with a pair of eyeglasses, including small sizes for children and options such as bands that keep glasses in place. To schedule a children’s eye exam with a Calgary optometrist, call Specs in the City at 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: How much does a children’s eye exam cost?
A: Eye exams for children 18 and under are covered by Alberta Health.

Q: How is a children’s eye exam conducted?
A: Children’s eye exams are non-invasive and will not cause any discomfort. The eye doctor will examine the eye and take imaging for a more detailed look. Depending on the age of the child, the optometrist may ask them questions to answer. If the child is too young or too nervous to be alone during an eye exam, a parent or guardian may accompany the child.

Q: How do I know if my child is having vision problems?
A: Call our Calgary optometry clinic today to schedule a visit with a pediatric optometrist if your child is doing any of the following or having any of these issues:

  • Blinking excessively
  • Covering one eye or squinting frequently
  • Rubbing their eyes often
  • Concentration issues while looking at a specific objects
  • Troubles maintaining eye contact
  • Keeping a book close to their face when reading
  • Putting their finger underneath sentences when reading
  • Dizziness or headaches
  • Sudden performance problems at school
  • Uncharacteristic clumsiness
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