Special Attention for Your Little One’s Special Eyes
From the moment your child is born, they’re learning to explore, interact, and engage with their world through their eyes. In fact, children’s eyes play an integral role in their overall development.
Children’s eyes grow and change quickly. If they develop a vision problem, they often don’t realize it or know how to articulate it. Comprehensive eye exams help prevent vision-related problems from going undiagnosed and impacting your child’s ability to learn.
At Prairie Vision, we love seeing our young patients for their routine eye exams. Our staff is experienced at pediatric eye exams and strives to create a comforting, safe, and engaging environment for children of all ages. Give your little one special attention, and book their eye exam today.
Signs of a Vision Problem
It’s not always clear when a child has a vision problem. But parents and guardians can look for signs that could indicate an issue:
- Red, itchy, or watering eyes
- Light sensitivity
- An eye turning in or out
- Squinting or rubbing the eyes
- Excessive blinking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Covering or closing one eye
- Holding objects very close to the face
- Avoiding books and television
- Visible frustration or grimacing
- Head tilting
When Should Children Have Their Eyes Checked?
Children’s eyes go through an extraordinary amount of change as they grow. Because of this, the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) recommends children have their eyes examined in relation to their major visual milestones.
During these routine eye exams, the optometrist will check your child’s eye health, evaluate their eyesight, assess their visual skills, and look for common childhood eye conditions. Annual children’s eye exams are covered by Alberta Health until they turn 19.
The CAO recommends that children have their first eye exam between 6 and 9 months of age. The first 6 months of your baby’s life include an exponential amount of eye development.
Baby’s aren’t born with perfect vision. At first, all they can see are blurred patterns of light and dark.
In the first 4 months, your child’s vision will expand, and they’ll develop colour vision. By the time they’re 6 months old, their eyes start working better together, and your child will gain eye movement control and hand-eye coordination skills. During these first 6 months, your baby’s eyes may seem misaligned or slightly crossed, but this is normal.
During this first eye exam, the optometrist will check that your baby’s:
- Eyes are healthy
- Eye muscle movements and alignment are developing properly
- Eyes are focusing together
Toddlers & Preschoolers
During these years, children enjoy listening to stories and looking at books. They also like to colour, draw, and paint, or put together puzzles and assemble blocks. All these activities help your child develop their visual skills and prepare them to learn how to read. Your child will also continue to develop their depth perception, hand-eye coordination, and visualization skills.
During this second eye exam, your toddler’s optometrist will check that they’re reaching all their visual skills and that their eyes are healthy. Strabismus and amblyopia can develop around these ages as well, so their optometrist will look for vision problems.
The visual skills they developed in early childhood all work together to help them learn and understand the information they process. Routine eye exams can help ensure their eyes won’t hold them back from succeeding in school.
Preparing for Your Child’s Eye Exam
- Bring your child’s Alberta Personal Health card
- Bring your child’s current glasses and sunglasses
- Bring a list of any medications your child is currently taking
Common Childhood Vision Problems
A vision problem can significantly impact your child academically, socially, and recreationally. Nearly 60% of children with reading difficulties have an undiagnosed or untreated vision problem. When a vision problem goes untreated, children can be misdiagnosed with learning disabilities like dyslexia or ADHD.
Your child’s optometrist will look for signs of vision problems during every eye exam and provide you and your child with a personalized treatment plan. Some of these problems include:
Children won’t grow out of strabismus or amblyopia, so these conditions require treatment. Strabismus and amblyopia are easier to treat when they’re diagnosed early. Learn more about these vision problems on our Vision Therapy page.
Refractive errors are easily corrected with glasses, but children with myopia may benefit from myopia control, which we offer at Prairie Vision. Read about our methods of slowing myopia to see if it’s something you’d like to learn more about.
We serve clients of all ages from Wainwright, Viking, Vermilion, Provost, Lloydminster (Alberta), Macklin (Saskatchewan), and the surrounding areas.
- 2802 15th Ave, Unit 2
- Wainwright, AB T9W 0A4
After-Hours Emergencies: 780-842-0650
Hours of Operation
- Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Tuesday: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- Friday: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- Saturday: Closed
- Sunday: Closed
Closed for all statutory holidays