August is Eye Care About School Month | Opticians are on the Front Line of Vision Care

We're excited to introduce to you a new series about #Vision! Every month we'll be sharing content about vision & how it relates to your overall healthcare.

August is Eye Care About School month. This month we will be exploring topics related to vision and its impact on learning.

 

It's that time of year again! Parents and children are in full swing of summer activities but are starting to prepare for the new school year. It's time to buy pencils, notebooks, backpacks, new shoes and back to school clothes. One often overlooked 'must have' for the school year is... an eye exam.

In Canada it is estimated that 25% of children have vision difficulties.

In Ontario, every child 20 years old and under is entitled to an eye exam through OHIP every 12 months.  A U of T study found that, "Despite the fact that vision care coverage is offered in Ontario to individuals under the age of 20, only 14 per cent of children under the age of six had a vision exam as of six years ago." (U of T News) 

Although some vision difficulties are detectable by parents and educators, for example squinting at far away objects or the child's eye visibly 'crossed', there are many cases that would go unnoticed without an eye exam.

Optometrist Afua Oteng Asare, a PhD student at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, spoke about some of the barriers concerning eye care for school-aged children and the lasting impact on their development. She wrote; “These conditions are not always obvious just by observing a child, what is most concerning is that if not detected and treated early, amblyopia in particular could cause irreversible vision loss by the age of seven or eight.” 

Vision loss is not the only issue for school age children. Vision related learning difficulties are often misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD or other behavioral issues. These children often:

Children aren't the only ones going back to school! Colleges and Universities are also starting up again in September, but for most students it will be a slightly different delivery. In light of COVID-19, many post secondary institutions are offering online and remote delivery in lieu of in class lectures. This means that students will be spending more time using a computer or other electronic device to further their education.

This extended use of of digital devices won't cause permanent damage but it does increase the risks of:

  • Dry eyes

  • Blurry vision

  • Tearing or watery eyes

  • Headache

  • Digital eye strain

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/blue-light-digital-eye-strain

What's next?

We'll be providing you with thought pieces & podcasts about being prepared for the new school year! Show the world: Eye Care About School!  

Stay tuned for our weekly content. We'll notify you across our social channels.

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