Healthy vision and successful learning go hand in hand
OTTAWA, Sept. 20, 2012 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Optometrists
(CAO) is pleased to announce that this year’s Eye Health Month theme is
Look. See. Learn. The focus is children’s vision and the importance of
eye exams in early childhood to detect and prevent serious eye disease.
Since 80 per cent of classroom learning is visual, it’s extremely
important for parents to have their children’s eyes tested prior to
them starting school. School children with poor eyesight may fail to
progress educationally and could even exhibit reading or learning
“It’s so important that children’s eyes are checked thoroughly by an
optometrist when they’re young. Even if they have 20/20 vision they can
still have other problems with their eyes,” says Lil Linton, president
of CAO. “A lot of parents don’t realize this.”
In late 2011, CAO published the Frequency of Exam Examinations – Guideline in the Canadian Journal of Optometry, Vol. 73, # 4, Fall, 2011. These updated guidelines recommend that children’s eye be tested for
the first time when they are between 6 months – 24 months; followed by
one eye exam each year between the ages of 2 and 19 years.
“Many people tend not to worry about their vision unless they have a
problem,” says Glenn Campbell, CAO executive director. “Children may
think that what they see is normal even though it’s not. The earlier
they are checked the better.”
CAO’s annual Eye Health Month campaign runs from October 1 to 31 each
year and has focused on topics such as vision and aging, and computer
About the Canadian Association of Optometrists
The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) is a professional
association that represents over 4,500 doctors of optometry in Canada.
CAO’s mission is to enhance the quality, availability, and
accessibility of eye, vision and related health care; to enhance and
promote the independent and ethical decision making of its members; and
to assist optometrists in practicing successfully in accordance with
the highest standards of patient care.
Frequency of Eye Examinations – Guideline
The need for periodic optometric examination has been recognized for
many years. Vision and ocular health conditions are not always
accompanied by recognizable symptoms. There is often an increased risk
to the patient if treatment is not initiated early enough. Relying on
the occurrence of obvious symptoms in order to initiate an eye
examination exposes the patient to an unnecessary risk.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists accepted the recommendations
contained in the Review of the Canadian Association of Optometrists
Frequency of Eye Examinations Guideline – An Evidence-Based Approach.(1) (See chart.)
Many factors influence the recommended frequency of optometric
examinations. Only the examining optometrist, upon the analysis of all
factors, including the patient’s overall health, can determine when a
particular patient should return for follow-up. Some of the factors
which would indicate high risk are as follows:
Infants and Toddlers and Pre-school
Premature birth; low birth weight; mother having rubella; sexually
transmitted disease, AIDS related infection; or other medical problems
during pregnancy; mother having a history of substance abuse prior to
or during pregnancy; family history of high refractive error or eye
disease; turned eyes; or congenital eye disorders.
Children failing to progress educationally; children exhibiting reading
and/or learning disabilities.
Diabetes; hypertension; family history of glaucoma; those who work in
visually demanding or eye hazardous conditions.
Diabetes; hypertension; family history of glaucoma; those taking
systemic medication with ocular side effects.
Age Group Recommendation* Infants and toddlers Infants and toddlers should undergo their first (birth to 24 months) eye examination between the ages of 6 and 9 months. Preschool children Preschool children should undergo at least one eye (2 to 5 years) examination between the ages of 2 and 5 years. School-age children School children aged 6 to 19 years should undergo (6 to 19 years) an eye examination annually. Adults Adults aged 20 to 39 years should undergo an eye (20 to 39 years) examination every 2 to 3 years. Adults Adults aged 40 to 64 years should undergo an eye (40 to 64 years) examination every 2 years. Adults Adults aged 65 years or older should undergo an (65 years or older) eye examination annually.
* Guidelines are not appropriate for all clinical situations.
1. Review of the Canadian Association of Optometrists Frequency of Eye Examinations Guideline - An Evidence-Based Approach, Principal Investigators: Barbara E. Robinson, PhD., Paul Stolee, PhD. Research Team: Katie Mairs, MSc., Selena Santi, MA., Christine Glenny, MSc. Prepared by: Katie Mairs, MSc. University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
SOURCE Canadian Association of Optometrists