October is Children’s Vision Health Month: Resources and information for Children’s Vision Health

Posted Thursday September 26, 2019

Posted By: Jeffery Satchwill

Category: General

October is Children’s Vision Health Month. Children rarely complain about not seeing well because they think their vision is normal. If not identified early, some eye problems such as amblyopia can permanently reduce a child’s vision.  Treatment for amblyopia is more successful before age 71. Every year in Ontario, 7000 children lose the use of an eye because a vision disorder was not identified and treated. Another 15,000 children have trouble learning to read because they need glasses.2 In 2016, approximately 42% of Ottawa’s 4 to 5-year-olds (8,628 of an estimated 20,625) had had at least one vision related visit with a health professional in their lifetime.3

The Rourke Baby Record (PDF) recommend physical examination of the eyes at each well-baby and well-child visit.  The RBR also recommend evaluating eye movements as part of the developmental milestones.  Checking visual acuity is recommended at ages 3–5 years.

A valid OHIP covers the cost of one major eye exam (for vision and general eye health) at an optometrist every 12 months, plus any minor assessments for children and youth 19 years and younger. Programs Exist to assist with the cost of prescription glasses. 

In October, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is promoting vision health and annual eye exams through different activities;

  • Promotional print cards will be distributed to every kindergarten student in Ottawa to bring home to their parent. The cards promote comprehensive annual eye examination with an optometrist.  To order cards for your office, email visionhealth@ottawa.ca or call 613-580-2424, ext. 23510.
  • The Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page will have a guest optometrist and member of the Ontario Association of Optometrists on October 9th. 
  • OPH will provide vision screenings to detect some potential risk factors of certain vision disorders.  Even if children pass the vision screening, they will be encouraged to see an optometrist for an annual comprehensive examination.  

Find more information on OPH’s Vision Health web page.

Physician Resources

Patient Resources

References

[1] Holmes et al. (2011). Effect of Age on Response to Amblyopia Treatment in Children. Arch Ophthalmol/Vol 129 (No. 11). doi:10.1001/arch ophthalmol.2011.179

2 Maurer, D., Wong, A., & Nishimura, M. (6 December 2018). Kindergarten Vision-Testing Programme 2015-2018 Report. Available from www.visionscreening.ca

3 Population Estimates 2016, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, IntelliHEALTH Ontario, Date Extracted: June 2019

Lyne Lafrance RDH
Supervisor, Dental Health Promotion and Vision Screening Program
Ottawa Public Health

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