Children’s eye & vision care
Parents, childcare staff, and teachers cannot always tell when a child has trouble seeing. Observation alone is not enough, on-going professional vision screening, starting in early childhood, is essential to your child’s development.
The Healthy Smiles, Clear Vision. A vision benefit for four-year old New Brunswick children, was implemented by the NB government to encourage parents to have their child’s vision assessed professionally before the child starts kindergarten.
The impact of personal electronic devices
It is not unusual to see two-year old children playing on a tablet or using a parent’s cell phone to play games. A preschooler’s eyes are not ready for prolonged or intense concentration at short distances. To make TV viewing easier on the eyes, the room should be softly lit, the television placed to avoid glare and at least five times the screen’s width away from the child. Children should take periodic breaks from staring at any screen.
Try to see the world through your child’s eyes. Be alert for symptoms that may indicate a child or teen has a visual problem:
- Red, itchy, watery eyes or discharge
- Squinting or rubbing the eyes
- Excessive blinking
- Covering or closing one eye
- Tilting or holding the head in an unusual position
- Sensitivity to light
- Holding objects too close
- Avoiding activities needing distance vision
- Difficulty finding or picking up small objects
- Trouble focusing or making eye contact
- Eyes appear crossed or turned
- Difficulty following objects or people
- Avoiding books or screens
- Bumping into things
If your child or teen exhibits any of these symptoms, take them to see a doctor, as soon as possible. The doctor may refer you to an ophthalmologist or suggest the child see an optometrist, as necessary. Your child may be prescribed corrective eyewear. If electronic devices are causing problems, the eye doctor may recommend glasses with lenses that protect eyes from the blue light emitted from those devices. Whatever your eye doctor prescribes, an Optician will help you and your child, choose, and learn to wear and care for their new eyeglasses.