Updated: Aug 28, 2019
I know that a lot of you think that there is no reason to take your child to the eye doctor if they're not exhibiting symptoms of vision problems. While that is a common assumption, it’s completely inaccurate. You take your child to the pediatrician and dentist for checkups and preventive care, so why not the optometrist too?
Did you know that 49% of children under the age of 6 have never seen an eye doctor? That's a troubling statistic considering that the Canadian Association of Optometrists recommend that children should have at least one eye exam before the age of 3, and annually there after to ensure optimal vision and development. Regardless of age or physical health an annual comprehensive eye exam helps detect vision issues at an early stage, improving the treatment options.
Here are a few more reason why every child needs a regular eye exam:
1. Having a complete eye exam before your child enters school allows enough time to catch and correct any vision problems that may interfere with learning.
2. 70% of everything we learn comes through our eyes. Impaired vision can affect a child’s cognitive, emotional, neurological, and physical development by potentially limiting their exposure to a range of experiences and information.
3. Vision screening at schools or at the pediatrician aren’t enough. They are a great way to flag children with obvious vision issues, but they can not detect underlying and potentially serious eye health issues. Many parents rely on their children to tell them when it’s time to see an eye doctor. 84% of parents say they know their child needs to see an eye doctor when their child starts complaining about their vision…. sometimes that is too late to correct a serious problem that has gone undetected.
4. In addition to the above mentioned, there's exposure to blue light. Aside from sunlight, digital screens –like those of TVs, computers/ laptops, smart phones and tablets– are the most common source of individuals’ blue light exposure.
WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT?
Blue light, also known as high energy visible (HEV) light, is a type of light with short wavelengths emitting a higher energy. Blue light penetrates deep into the eye, so exposure may result in:
- Damage to the retina exposing the eye to hidden spikes in intensity
- Long-term vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts
- Suppressing the natural release of melatonin, disrupting sleep
- Digital Eye Strain; a temporary discomfort that follows two or more hours of digital device use. A variety of electronic devices can cause digital eye strain, including televisions, desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, e-readers, tablets, and gaming systems, especially when they are used simultaneously or when switching repeatedly from one device to another.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DIGITAL EYE STRAIN?
- Red, dry or irritated eyes,
- Blurred vision
- Eye fatigue, back, neck and shoulder pain.
About 80 percent of Canadian adults report using digital devices for more than two hours per day with nearly 67 percent using two or more devices simultaneously, and 59 percent report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.
TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF DIGITAL EYE STRAIN:
- Use of the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away (the water cooler, possibly?). This is intended to give your eyes a much-needed break.
- Ask for lenses designed to reduce focusing effort while looking at computer screens. Many lens manufacturers now have prescription lenses that reduce the amount of focusing effort that the eyes must exert. These lenses are optimized for a computer screen distance and tend to maximize the field of view which is important as many people now have wider or even multiple monitors.
- Ask for anti-reflective coatings on the lenses of your glasses, which can be applied at the time of manufacturing, to protect your eyes from bright and/or flickering light sources such as fluorescent lights.
- Remember to blink! Did you know that on average we blink 12 times per minute, but when we’re on the computer, we only blink 5 times per minute? That can add up to dry eyes. Relieve the discomfort by using artificial tears (eye drops) or gels and remembering to blink
You can help your child start the year of right by booking their eye exam before the start of the school year. Call us to book yours at (905) 238-0202 or through our online booking app under 'Book Online'