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Most people tend to think of vision and eyesight as being the same; however, they are two different concepts. It is important to understand these differences to better identify any vision problems that may arise, because children rarely complain about their sight.

Eyesight

Good eyesight is simply the ability to see objects clearly, up close and from afar. Eyesight (also known as visual acuity) is tested during an eye exam using charts with letters and numbers on them. A child has 20/20 vision if he or she can see clearly from a distance of 20 feet. A child with 20/20 eyesight does not necessarily have perfect vision.

Vision

Vision is the ability to see properly and process visual information. Vision incorporates a wider range of visual abilities and skills and involves eyesight, eye coordination, focusing, eye movement, eye health, and perception.

Problems with a child’s eyesight or vision can affect the way they learn or play, if left untreated. Regular eye exams with an optometrist can help detect and treat any problems. Appointments with an optometrist can be booked without a referral. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends the following guidelines for children’s eye exams:

Child’s Age

Frequency of eye exam

Infants and toddlers (birth to 24 months)

Infants and toddlers should have their first eye exam between 6 and 9 months of age.

Preschool children (2 to 5 years old)

Preschool children should have at least one eye exam between 2 and 5 years of age.

School-aged children (6 to 19 years old)

School-aged children should have an eye exam every year.

In Ontario, the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) covers the fee for a child’s eye exam. Children and youth aged 0 to 19 years old can get a FREE eye exam with an optometrist every year, as long as they have a valid OHIP card.

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Last modified: 
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 3:15pm