Young children with vision problems often don’t know the world is different from the way they see it. They may never have seen clearly, and they have no way of knowing their vision is not normal.

Vision problems are treated more successfully during the growth and development of a child’s visual system. By the time children reach school age, their visual system has completed its development, so a delayed eye exam can spell trouble.

Children may not know what to expect during a routine professional eye exam. Calm your child’s fears by setting an example: Get your eyes examined first! Then you can sit with him or her while their eyes are examined.


To start the school year off well, your child needs:

  • A lunchbox
  • New sneakers
  • Pencils with erasers
  • A professional eye exam

A timely, comprehensive exam by a qualified eyecare professional is key to discovering vision difficulties in children. Parents and teachers should watch for certain tell tale signs of possible vision problems:

  • Squinting, closing or covering one eye; excessive blinking or rubbing of the eyes
  • Dislike and or avoidance of close work; short attention span; frequent daydreaming
  • Placing the head close to a book when reading; losing place while reading
  • Complaints of headaches, nausea and dizziness; excessive clumsiness
  • Turning or tilting the head to one side.

If you notice any of these symptoms, your child should be taken to an eyecare professional for an exam.


Good vision is fundamental to reading, and reading is essential to learning. By ensuring that your child is free of vision problems, you’ll give your youngster the best chance to perform to his or her fullest potential.

The Toronto Eye Clinic hopes this document has helped parents understand the importance of proper vision care for children. If you have questions about the “ABC’s of Eyecare,” feel free to contact the Toronto Eye Clinic at (416) 486-6084.

There is no substitute for an annual eye exam for your youngster by a qualified eyecare professional. Including eye exams in your child’s back-to-school routine is as easy as ABC!


Remember when you were a child and your vision was checked with the “Big E” eye chart? It’s still used for school vision screenings, although it generally misses 70 to 80 percent of children’s vision problems. For example, it can tell you whether a child can see the chalkboard, but not whether she or he can see to read a book.

Undiscovered vision problems may be the cause of learning difficulties and a child’s dislike of reading. Since 80 percent of learning in a child’s first 12 years comes through the eyes, a youngster’s vision problems may cause the child to fall behind in learning.

The Toronto Eye Clinic urges you to make a professional eye exam part of your child’s annual back-to-school routine. That is the philosophy behind the “ABC’s of Eyecare” (Annual Back-to-School Checkups), a public awareness campaign supported by the National Education Association, the National Association of School Nurses and the American Health Foundation. The ABC’s campaign also benefits the national literacy campaign of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), and carries the seal of the American Optometric Association and the Opticians Association of America.