Doctors of Optometry Canada

Doctors of Optometry Canada

October 01, 2013 08:00 ET

Children's Undiagnosed Vision Problems Affect Learning and Development

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 1, 2013) - The Doctors of Optometry Canada public education campaign is launching Children's Vision Month in October to raise awareness that children's vision problems affect learning and development, and prevent children from reaching their full potential.

Municipalities across Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, have declared October as Children's Vision Month, as a way to ensure parents understand the connection between good vision and learning.

"Parents cannot determine if their children see well, because when a child has a vision problem, they have no point of comparison, so accept the way they see as normal," says Dr. Dorothy Barrie, Saskatchewan Doctor of Optometry. "Many parents aren't aware that a comprehensive eye exam can make a real difference in how well their child performs at school."

The need for public awareness is very real. A recent survey by the Canadian Association of Optometrists reports that 61 per cent of Canadian parents mistakenly believe they would know if their child was having difficulty with their eyesight. However, many serious eye conditions do not have obvious symptoms and some eye diseases only show symptoms when the condition is advanced and difficult, or even impossible, to treat. Some conditions like amblyopia or "lazy eye", to be treated successfully, need to be treated when a child is young.

Vision is considered the most important sense for learning. Eighty per cent of what children learn is based on vision. Vision conditions can manifest in school, socially and in play - many children with eye issues can become withdrawn and perform below their potential.

"We want parents to be aware that one in four school-aged children has a vision problem. These visual and eye health problems can be detected and managed at an early age. The first step is seeing your local Doctor of Optometry. A comprehensive eye exam provides the full assurance of vision and eye health that a simple eye-chart test or a school vision screening cannot," says Dr. Barrie.

Doctors of Optometry recommend infants have their first eye examination 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 to ensure optimal vision and development.

Children's Vision Month is an initiative of the Canadian Association of Optometrists and the 10 provincial optometric associations.

About Doctors of Optometry Canada

Doctors of Optometry are a single source for vision, eye-health and eyewear needs. Most Doctors of Optometry have earned a four-year Bachelor of Science degree or higher, followed by four years of professional study at a university-based school of optometry. Ongoing continuing education requirements ensure Doctors of Optometry remain current on eye health issues and technological advancements. Doctors of Optometry diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and disorders affecting the eyes and the visual system, and also assist in identifying general health conditions that are often first detected through an eye exam. Doctor of Optometry recommended treatments for patients can include eyeglasses, contact lenses, special low vision aids, eye coordination exercises, drug therapies, or referral to appropriate specialists for advanced medical, surgical or laser treatments. For more information: visit www.doctorsofoptometry.ca

Municipal Proclamations

To increase public awareness and ensure that parents understand the connection between good vision and learning, Doctors of Optometry and municipalities across Canada have proclaimed October as "Children's Vision Month".

Proclamation below.

Office of the Mayor

CITY OF _________

PROVINCE

Proclamation

"Children's Vision Month 2013"

WHEREAS, as children across Canada return to school, many are beginning their school year with undiagnosed and untreated vision problems that interfere with their ability to read and learn;

WHEREAS, 80 percent of learning relies on vision;

WHEREAS, one in four school-aged children have vision problems that could interfere with learning;

WHEREAS, many vision problems have no symptoms and parents, no matter how well they know their child, can not determine how well their child sees;

WHEREAS, all children deserve the opportunity to learn and achieve their full potential;

WHEREAS, to determine if a child sees well, he or she requires a comprehensive eye examination;

WHEREAS, public awareness about the role vision plays in learning and learning-related vision problems is necessary for children to receive prompt vision treatment needed to enhance their lives;

WHEREAS, it is important that parents, teachers, nurses and others understand the role good vision plays in the learning process and the importance of working together to reduce the impact of untreated vision problems;

WHEREAS, public education on the importance of eye exams is critical to ensuring children see well:

I, _____(name)___________, ________(title)_____________, do hereby declare October 2013 as Children's Vision Month.

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