In my family, being called “four eyes” seems to be an inevitable genetic truth. Like a family crest, we’ve come to accept it as a badge of honor. So, when it comes to vision and eye health, I absolutely had to do the research on when to do eye exams, where to do eye exams, and what programs are available to support children’s eye health in Alberta. I even found a great program that helps parents score free glasses for their kindergarten-aged children!
When to schedule an eye exam for your child:
Eye exams for children are critical for their health, development and learning/engagement at school. According to the Alberta Association of Optometrists, 1 in 4 children has a vision problem and are often misdiagnosed with learning or behavioural disabilities. Children might not even know they have a vision issue, because they believe what they see is completely normal.
After speaking with optometrists in my personal network, they recommended a child have his or her first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months old.
Here are some symptoms to look for which can signal an eye exam might be what the doctor ordered:
- Struggles with reading, writing or learning.
- Performs below ability level.
- Loses place while reading or uses finger/marker to guide eyes.
- Places head close to books or desk while reading or writing.
- Has a short attention span for age.
- Dislikes or avoids close or detailed work.
- Has poor eye-hand coordination.
- Turns or tilts head to use only one eye; covers or closes one eye.
- Blinks or rubs eyes excessively.
- Suffers from headaches, nausea, dizziness.
- Complains of burning, itching or blurry eyes.
- Has double vision.
Where to find a kids’ optometrist in Edmonton:
The Alberta Association of Optometrists has a very useful tool on their website that allows an individual to find an optometrist near them. You can search by postal code and even language to help make the process easier.
Alberta Health covers the cost of annual comprehensive eye exams for children up to the age of 19, so don’t forget to bring your child’s health care card with you!
How much do children’s glasses cost?
Children’s frames start at $45 – $55 and go upwards depending on the lenses, prescriptions and specifications. Sunglass frames start at $20 and go upwards.
How to score free glasses for kids!
The coolest part about being a child in Alberta who needs glasses? (Yes, I just put the word “cool” and “glasses” in the same sentence). Through the Eye See… Eye Learn program, a child who is in Kindergarten to Grade One can have free glasses provided to them if they receive a prescription from a participating optometrist. So when scheduling your kindergarteners eye exam, ensure to ask if the optometrist is part of the Eye See…. Eye Learn program. You can also check the box in the “Find an Optometrist” tool mentioned above!