Your Back-to-School ‘to-do’ list can be pretty intimidating and shopping can get costly. Between the new pencil cases, backpacks, shoes, and lunchboxes (we’re starting to feel dizzy), it can be a challenge to tick everything off your list ahead of September.
But one important thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is the health of our kids’ eyes. As parents, we want to give our children the best possible start to their education. And if your son or daughter is squinting at the classroom board, it could be hurting their performance in school as well as their enjoyment of learning.
Signs Your Child May Need an Eye Exam
If you’re not sure how well your child is seeing, here are a few things you can watch for:
- Eye rubbing
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty reading
- A drop in grades
These can all be signs that your child needs an eye exam. But even if they have no symptoms or complaints, they should still get their eyes tested annually. Often, kids simply don’t realize that they’re not seeing clearly and think that everyone sees the world the way they do.
And once school has started, it’s a good idea to check in with your child’s teacher every now and again to see if they have any feedback on your child’s vision. Teachers are a great resource and often notice things we may not!
Where to Get Checked
While the cost of eyeglasses can be tough to handle, many provinces are now making eye exams for children free (it’s covered by the publicly funded health system).
If you live in Ontario, for example, the Eye See…Eye Learn program provides free comprehensive eye exams for kindergarten students. You simply book your child an eye exam with a local, participating optometrist and all costs are covered by OHIP. Even better, the program offers a complimentary pair of glasses to Junior Kindergarten kids – something that would normally cost you around $250.
If you’re outside of Ontario, you can try calling your local optometrist to find out about rates and if they offer any free services. Another great place to call is the optical labs at places like the Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Zehrs, Fortinos, Your Independent Grocer, Atlantic Superstore, and Dominion stores (in Newfoundland) to find out if they offer free eye exams.
So alongside the pencils and notepads, make sure you put cool new frames and 20/20 vision on your Back-to-School list this year. It’s a great way to help your kids start another new year on the right foot.