charlie eye exam

You know you’re over the hump and really into the school year when the parent-teacher interviews hit. The kids have had a few weeks to get used to the new surroundings of a higher grade, and the teachers have got a lay of the land to give some early feedback to parents.

Our first interviews are a “get to know you” sort of thing where the teachers gauge our expectations for the new year and we work together on a strategy to make sure our sons keep up or stay ahead, work hard, and achieve their best potential.

If your first interviews this week raised a few red flags about your child’s ability to focus in the classroom, or their ability to successfully complete projects, working with your teacher on learning strategies is just one part of the equation; you need to also get their eyes checked.

Vision problems don’t always have obvious symptoms, and they can go undetected, which could lead to complications down the road. In fact, approximately 60% of children with literacy issues have an undiagnosed or untreated vision problem.

A significant amount of learning is visual. A single pair of eye glasses can
mean the difference between a child thriving at school or falling behind. If they cannot see the board, follow along in a book or focus on the ball, they may struggle in school and extracurricular activities and stop short of achieving their full potential.

It shouldn’t be like that.

Getting your kids eyes checked is free in Alberta (check for details in your specific province), and with programs like Kids See Free available in Real Canadian Superstore optical departments, getting your kids the glasses they need to see their school work is easy.

Kids See Free provides children aged 4-10 years old with any frame valued up to $49 with single vision, polycarbonate ‘kids’ safe’ lenses for FREE once each year. These are lightweight, UV Protected, impact resistant lenses with a basic scratch resistant coating.

Need another reminder?!

October is Children’s Vision Month in Canada, and filled with reminders to make eye exams part of your back to school routine every year. I have amblyopia (a lazy left eye). It wasn’t caught until well into Grade 1, so I’ve lived a life wearing glasses.

Had my kindergarten teachers – or my parents – caught on earlier, I might have been able to correct the issue. Having a lazy eye never affected my school work directly, but it was a treatable health issue that now has me living in a near sighted fog if I ever misplace my glasses.

1 in 3 Canadian parents do not plan to have their child’s eyes examined before school each year. This hurts. Kids can’t learn what they can’t see. Sometimes learning disabilities are merely children hiding the fact they can’t see the lesson. Eyeglasses can mean the difference between a child thriving at school or falling behind.

So I bring my boys for annual eye exams at the start of each school year.

It’s a simple process that the boys actually enjoy because of the funky equipment that’s used for the testing. A quick look at their eyes, a few vision tests with letters, taking a turn with “the owl eyes machine” and we’re out.

It was really that easy, both boys were done in less than 20 minutes.

They both received clean bills of eye health again and don’t need glasses.

But they want glasses. Zacharie is obsessed with Harry Potter, while Charlie is fashion conscious and thinks the funky frames look good.

They do look good on the boys, our Real Canadian Superstore Optical Department had a great selection for kids with fun styles and colours. But the ‘free glasses’ program doesn’t apply to those with more vanity than medical need.

HERE ARE SOME SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

– Having difficulty reading

– Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close

– Frequent eye rubbing

– Sensitivity to light or excessive tearing

– Closing one eye to read or watch TV (this was my dead giveaway as a kid)

– Avoiding using a computer because it hurts their eyes

– Having trouble seeing the chalk board

– A sudden drop in grades

Even if your child has no symptoms or diagnosed vision problems, you should still get your children’s eyes tested annually. IT’S FREE!

I want my boys to be able to see their school work. I want them to succeed and live happy, healthy lives.

An annual eye exam is part of that plan.

This post is sponsored by Real Canadian Superstore

* Have you had your child’s eyes tested yet? Our Kids See Free program is available for children aged 4-10. Bring in a prescription dated within the last 3 months and have not had a free pair in the last 365 days.

The sooner a vision problem is detected, the more likely it can be treated and even reversed. Optometrists recommend children have their first comprehensive eye exam between the ages of six and nine months, their second between the ages of two and five and then one every year after that.

Alberta Health Care covers the cost of annual eye exams for children until they turn 19, check with your province’s health ministry for local details.

The Kids See Free program is available at optical departments at Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Zehrs, Fortinos, Your Independent Grocer, Atlantic Superstore, and Dominion stores in Newfoundland.

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