Detecting vision problems in school-age children

By Dr. Adam Reid

According to the B.C. Association of Optometrists (BCAO), one in five children has a vision disorder – such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism. Many of them assume that everyone sees the world as they do and have no idea their vision is less than perfect.

A school-age child’s eyes are constantly at work, whether at school or at play.

It’s been estimated that 80 per cent of a child’s learning is based on vision, and several visual skills that adults take for granted must work together so your child can see and understand things clearly. If any of these skills are impaired, your child will need to work harder, which often leads to headaches, fatigue and, often, an apathetic attitude toward school.

The BCAO reports that one in six school-age children diagnosed with a learning disability actually has a correctable vision impairment.

As you can see, it’s incredibly important to get your child’s vision checked regularly; that’s why annual eye exams are covered by the B.C. Medical Service Plan for children under the age of 18.

Possible signs of a vision problem include covering or rubbing the eyes, tilting the head (or another unusual posture), losing place or confusing words while reading and otherwise performing below his or her potential.

If you notice any of these symptoms, book an eye exam with an optometrist.

Even without symptoms your child should have a complete eye exam at six months, before starting kindergarten and annually throughout the school years to ensure optimal eye health and developmental progress.

One of the reasons I joined the Mosaic team last summer is because it’s a family-oriented practice in a growing community. Pediatric care is something I especially enjoy; if you don’t yet have an optometrist for your child, I’d be happy to help.


Dr. Adam Reid is an optometrist with Mosaic Vision Care in Courtenay. To make an appointment, call 250-334-4512 or visit

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