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

Ponoka mayor denies allegations of conflict

A Ponoka resident maintains Mayor Rick Bonnett has taken work on the new town hall

Ponoka runners complete gruelling 100 mile Sinister 7 ultra

One team hit second place, another 95th, while a solo runner landed in the 24th spot

Woman jumps in front of semi on Highway 2

Potentially tragic event averted on QEII with help of Ponoka ITU members

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake elects its new MLA

The by-election was held in the riding on July 12

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Angry giant baby Trump balloon makes him feel ‘unwelcome’ in London

Trump told The Sun newspaper that he felt unwelcome in London because of protests, including a giant balloon that was being flown over Parliament on Friday.

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Storm rips through Central Alberta

Hail pelts region causing damage to farmland, plus communities in Ponoka, Bashaw and Stettler

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

Critics claim Trump “defended a tyrant”

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

B.C. reporter calls out immigration photo on social media as fake news

A Vancouver reporter is calling out a British politician for spreading fake news

Hundreds of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

Out of 1,773 glaciers, 1,353 shrank significantly between 2000 and 2016

Most Read