Let's start by removing the single biggest reason parents don't take their children to get their eyes tested by an optometrist: the cost. Eye exams for BC children don't cost anything*!
They are a fully covered annual benefit under the Medical Services Plan of BC; you simply present your child's care card. And if your child is just starting kindergarten, and you discover they need glasses, they will likely receive them for free under the new Eye See, Eye Learn program administered by the BC Doctors of Optometry (see www.bcesel.ca).
Eye exams are easy for kids; they often feel they're playing games when instead of being tested for:
- distance and near vision
- eye coordination
- depth perception
- colour vision
- tracking ability
Many more tests may also be performed if symptoms or family history identify a risk, and referrals to pediatric ophthalmology are often arranged when indicated.
What's the most common reason parents bring their kids in, starting between ages 6 months to 2 years and again at ages 3 and 5? Peace of mind! They don't want their child to be the one who has to fall behind in school, or suffer from unexplained headaches, or avoid reading or fast-moving sports, before figuring out they were the 1 in 4 school children with a vision problem.
Remember, 80% of a child's learning happens using their vision. What could be more important?
If you would like further information regarding the vision benefits provided under your child's care card, please visit http://bc.doctorsofoptometry.ca/patients/msp/
*Optometrists in BC are permitted to charge extra fees for children's eye exams, but this is uncommon. Please call to clarify fees before your child's appointment.