A program that has provided comprehensive eye examinations and free glasses for children in junior kindergarten across the province for several years comes to Sudbury this summer.
Through the Ontario Association of Optometrists' Eye See ... Eye Learn program, local optometrists will be able to meet with parents from all four Sudbury school boards to book appointments for comprehensive eye examinations for their children, if they wish.
Dr. Lianne Cousineau, a Sudbury optometrist, said one in four children have vision problems – ranging from near or far-sightedness to astigmatism.
If those vision problems aren't diagnosed early they can lead to issues in the classroom. “We know that 80 per cent of learning is through the vision,” she said.
Children who need glasses, but don't have them yet, might get frustrated in class and discouraged because they have trouble seeing letters and reading.
Cousineau said Sudbury optometrists will meet with parents during various schools' welcome to junior kindergarten meetings later this month.
From there, parents can choose to book appointments for comprehensive eye examinations, which are covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.
If they require glasses, OGI Eyewear and Nikon Optical Canada are providing free frames and lenses for the first pair.
Cousineau said the free glasses are a $250 value, and come with a two-year warranty. “They're very high quality frames and lenses,” she said.
She added that while some schools allow for basic eye screenings, the comprehensive examinations are important for young children, because they can catch things the screenings miss.
“We have come across cases where a child has had perfect vision, but you look inside the eye and they had a tumour,” she said.
For more information about the program visit the Ontario Association of Optometrists' website.