How well can your child see?

For children who’ve never known differently, detecting eye problems in their early childhood years can be difficult because they won’t

For children who’ve never known differently, detecting eye problems in their early childhood years can be difficult because they won’t understand their vision is being impaired or show regular symptoms; they assume everyone sees the way they do.

October is Children’s Vision Month, and optometrists Dr. Marc Kallal from Ponoka Eyecare and Dr. Mark ZoBell from Drs. Heimdahl & ZoBell want to remind Ponoka residents that Alberta Health covers annual eye exams from an optometrist for youths up to 19 years old.

A new survey reports that 61 per cent of Canadian parents mistakenly believe they would know if their child was having difficulty with their eyesight.

In Alberta, a program called Eye See…Eye Learn is offered through the Alberta Association of Optometrists, which gives children in kindergarten a comprehensive eye examination by a Doctor of Optometry, and if required, a complimentary pair of glasses.

In 2003, the program was launched as a pilot project. “It worked out so well we extended it across the province,” said ZoBell.

Now the program is endorsed by all public and separate schools across the province.

“This program is in place to increase each child’s access to vision care and to raise awareness of common eye conditions,” said Kallal.

“It’s important for children to have regular eye exams, so serious eye conditions can be identified and properly managed,” said Kallal.

It’s recommended that children receive their first eye exam at six months of age; their second, by the age of three; their third before starting kindergarten and each year after starting school.

Each fall kindergarten teachers send information packages home, encouraging parents to have their children’s eyes tested.

“A child with an undetected vision problem can easily fall behind in school,” said ZoBell. “Poor vision can delay a child’s development, making learning and coordination for physical activities difficult.”

Each year, fewer than 14 per cent of Canadian children under the age of six received an eye exam before starting school, despite the fact that an estimated one in four school-aged children have a vision problem significant enough to impair their ability to learn.

Last year, 19,888 five-year-olds in Alberta had eye exams and of those tested, 1,783 needed glasses and received a complimentary pair through the program.

“I know one of the big reasons we started the program is to catch lazy eye (amblyopia),” said ZoBell. Amblyopia has two causes, when one eye looks straight and the other is turned or one that doesn’t’ focus with the good eye.

In both situations, the weaker eye gets turned off by the brain and the vision development is delayed. The affliction is best treated with glasses and patching that will help the weaker eye to work on its own, hopefully building strength.

ZoBells says other common problems the program catches are stigmas, near sightedness and binocular vision.

Children who are tested through the program have a special report given to both their parents and teacher to increase communication for the child’s needs.

“One thing about this program is that it’s very successful and doesn’t cost the Alberta Government very much,” said ZoBell. Alberta Health funds the special reports while the complimentary glasses, lenses and time is donated from the respected fields.

 

Just Posted

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Rimbey RCMP need help identifying vandals

Plus, GPS in stolen vehicle helps locate it and the suspect in Red Deer

Ponoka Chamber to host election forum

All-candidates forum for Lacombe-Ponoka set for March 28 at the Ponoka Legion

Ponoka County $3.6 million surplus used to prepare for future

An unexpected grant carryover along with operational savings in 2018 has provided… Continue reading

St. Michael’s Church commemoration held west of Bashaw

The celebration acknowledged the history of Hungarian settlers in the area

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township

Trucker who caused Broncos crash likely to be deported: lawyer

The Crown has asked that Sidhu serve 10 years in prison

China chemical plant blast kills 47, injures hundreds more

This is one of China’s worst industrial accidents in recent years

Most Read