Each year, fewer than 14 per cent of Canadian children under the age of six have an eye exam before entering school, despite the fact that an estimated one in six school-aged children has a vision problem.
Vision problems can impact a child’s learning, physical health and friendships. Also, less obvious and serious eye conditions can go undetected.
While some schools offer testing through private clinics at low, or no, cost, parents can also choose to bring their child to a doctor, optometrist, or audiologist for more involved testing. (An eye examination is covered by OHIP once a year for persons under 20)
With eighty percent of what children know being learned through their eyes, experts says children with poor vision may find it difficult to focus on their work. They may become frustrated and feel less capable than other students, experts say.
According to the College of Optometrists, “Many children who experience academic difficulty may have a visual dysfunction in addition to their primary reading or learning dysfunction. These conditions are treatable.”
Children who lack good basic visual skills often struggle in school unnecessarily, experts say. 'Hidden' vision problems keep them from performing at grade level, yet teachers and parents often fail to make the connection between poor reading and the child's vision, they say.
In the City of Toronto's "Health Effects of Noise" report, Dr. Sheela Basrur, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health in 2001, said, "Studies have suggested that some population groups are at greater risk for harmful effects of noise. These groups include young children. To date there is sufficient scientific evidence that excessive noise exposure can induce hearing impairment, as well as psycho-social effects such as annoyance, stress-related health effects such as cardiovascular disorders, sleep disturbance and decreased school performance."
Facts on Children's Vision
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