School Aged Children

A school-age child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. For school-age children, several different visual skills must work together so they can see and understand clearly.

If any of these visual skills are lacking or impaired, your child will need to work harder and may develop headaches or fatigue. Often the increased visual demands of schoolwork can make greater demands on a child’s visual skills, pointing out a vision problem that was not apparent before school. The child may not realize they have a vision problem – they may simply assume everyone sees the way they do. A vision-related problem may cause some of the symptoms described below:

  • headaches or irritability
  • avoidance of near or distance work
  • covering or rubbing of the eyes
  • tilting of the head or unusual posture
  • using a finger to maintain place while reading
  • losing place while reading
  • omitting or confusing words when reading
  • performing below their potential

Conditions that may emerge during this stage in your child’s life include myopia or nearsightedness(blurred vision when seeing objects at a distance), hyperopia or farsightedness (blurred vision when seeing objects up close) and astigmatism (distorted vision at all distances).

Protect your child’s vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, book an eye exam with an optometrist. Your child should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and yearly after starting school.

Eye Health at Different Ages

Infants and Toddlers

Newborns have all the ocular structures necessary to see, although these are not yet fully developed. At birth, your baby can see blurred patterns of light and dark.

During the first four months, their visual horizon will expand from a few centimetres to many metres. Their vision will become clearer and colour vision will begin to develop. Their two eyes will start working together. By four months of age, an infant’s colour vision is similar to an adult’s, and by the sixth month, your baby will acquire eye movement control and develop eye-hand coordination skills.

For the first six months, an infant’s eyes can appear slightly crossed or out of alignment, but this is usually normal. But if your infant’s eyes appear significantly crossed or remain misaligned after six months of age, contact your Doctor of Optometry right away. Your child may have strabismus, commonly known as crossed eyes, a condition that needs to be treated with eyeglasses, contact lenses, prisms and/or vision therapy and, in some cases, surgery. In time, if not corrected, the ignored eye will become unable to function normally and will become largely unused. This may result in the development of lazy eye.

Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is another condition that becomes apparent within the first six months of your baby’s life. This condition describes weak vision or vision loss in one eye as a result of an uncorrected prescription. If detected or treated before eight years of age, it will often resolve completely. It’s important to treat amblyopia early – with vision therapy, eyeglasses and/or contact lenses, or patching – as treatment becomes very difficult later on. Untreated, amblyopia can lead to blindness in the affected eye.

Visual abilities play a big role in early development. Doctors of optometry recommend infants have their first eye exam between six and nine months of age. Children should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and yearly after starting school. An optometrist can complete an eye exam even if your child doesn’t know their ABCs. A doctor of optometry can use shapes, pictures and other child-friendly ways to evaluate vision and eye health.

Preschool Children (2 to 5 years)

Between ages one and two, it’s important for a child to develop good hand-eye coordination and depth perception.

There are activities that can help improve these essential visual skills, such as playing with building blocks or balls of any shape and size.

Children at age two enjoy listening to and telling stories. It helps them develop visualization skills and prepares them for learning to read. At this stage of their development, toddlers also like to paint, draw and colour, sort shapes and sizes, and fit or assemble pieces. These activities are all integral to their visual development.

A preschooler’s eyes are not ready for prolonged or intense concentration at short distances, but they do enjoy TV. To make TV viewing easier on the eyes, the room should be softly lit, the television placed to avoid glare, and the child should sit further away than five times the screen’s width, taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen.

Be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a visual problem:

  • red, itchy or watering eyes
  • sensitivity to light
  • an eye that consistently turns in or out
  • squinting, rubbing the eyes, or excessive blinking
  • a lack of concentration
  • covering or closing one eye
  • irritability or short attention span
  • holding objects too close
  • avoiding books and television
  • visible frustration or grimacing

Protect your child’s vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, book an eye exam with a Doctor of Optometry. Your child should have a complete optometric eye exam between six and nine months of age. Children should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and yearly after starting school.

School Age Children (6 to 19 years)

A school-age child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. For school-age children, several different visual skills must work together so they can see and understand clearly.

If any of these visual skills are lacking or impaired, your child will need to work harder and may develop headaches or fatigue. Often the increased visual demands of schoolwork can make greater demands on a child’s visual skills, pointing out a vision problem that was not apparent before school. The child may not realize they have a vision problem – they may simply assume everyone sees the way they do. A vision-related problem may cause some of the symptoms described below:

  • headaches or irritability
  • avoidance of near or distance work
  • covering or rubbing of the eyes
  • tilting of the head or unusual posture
  • using a finger to maintain place while reading
  • losing place while reading
  • omitting or confusing words when reading
  • performing below their potential

Conditions that may emerge during this stage in your child’s life include myopia or nearsightedness(blurred vision when seeing objects at a distance), hyperopia or farsightedness (blurred vision when seeing objects up close) and astigmatism (distorted vision at all distances).

Protect your child’s vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, book an eye exam with an optometrist. Your child should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and yearly after starting school.

  • Under 19 years of age - Covered by OHIP

    with OHIP Eligibility*

    ✅ Individualized treatment plan
    ✅ Eyeglass & contact lens prescription**
    ✅ Retinal photography
    ✅ OCT & Visual Fields***

Doctor Biographies

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* OHIP Eligibility

OHIP Eligibilityis defined by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Patients aged 20 to 64 years who have any of the following medical conditions can go to their optometrist or physician and receive an OHIP insured eye examination once every 12 months : diabetes mellitus, glaucoma, cataract, retinal disease, amblyopia, visual field defects, corneal disease, strabismus, recurrent uveitis or optic pathway disease.

** Additional Follow Up

Additional follow-up and partial eye exams may be required.

*** OCT & Visual Fields

As required. There are no additional fees on our Annual Eye Exams for retinal photos or OCT. OHIP does not cover retinal photos or OCT, which we feel is important to thoroughly examine your eyes for retinal diseases and glaucoma. Early diagnosis and intervention is our goal.

OHIP Covered Conditions

In Ontario, OHIP will cover the cost of an examination once every year for patients up to 19 years of age or over 65 years of age. In addition, OHIP will cover the cost of an annual examinations for patients with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and glaucoma. Full details about OHIP eyecare coverage including a list of eligible medical conditions are available from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website.

Patients aged 20 to 64 years who have any of the following medical conditions can go to their optometrist or physician and receive an OHIP insured eye examination once every 12 months : diabetes mellitus, glaucoma, cataract, retinal disease, amblyopia, visual field defects, corneal disease, strabismus, recurrent uveitis or optic pathway disease.

Not Covered by OHIP

Routine eye examinations provided by either an optometrist, ophthalmologist or physician, for patients aged 20 to 64, are not covered by OHIP. These individuals are responsible for payment for these examinations or have the cost covered by private insurance.

ODSP, Ontario Works and NIBH

There may be additional fees not covered by these programs.

Because of the individual programs we ask that patients contact us before scheduling an appointment. Different programs have different documentation and different coverages. Please contact us and we can help figure out what is required for your situation.

Parital Eye Examinations

Partial eye examinations follow an initial annual assessment and address an issue that has started during the year or to follow-up on an existing condition. The tests required may very depending on the reason for the visit.

The fees for a partial eye examination starts from $60 and may be covered by OHIP in some instances.

Appointments Available

Located in downtown Toronto near Richmond St. and Spadina Ave at the edge of the Fashion and Entertainment Districts. Easily accessible by transit (504, 501, 510) with nearby parking.