Why Your Family’s Eye Health is So Important – By the Numbers

Spring has mostly sprung – okay, maybe not fully, but the Weather Network says it is coming! With May being Vision Health Month, there is no better time than now to book your family’s optical appointments. Eye health is a crucial part of your total wellbeing and it’s important for all members of the family to be checked regularly – right down to the littlest member who may be too young to tell you about what they can (and cannot) see.

If you need a calculator, a daybook, or a map of the stars to figure out the last time you saw an optometrist, it’s time to get your peepers peeped at. And here’s a way to make it happen even more easily: visit Theodore & Pringle Opticals in Ontario, as well as on-site Opticals in Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Zehrs, Atlantic Superstore, and Dominion locations across Canada. You’re already there getting groceries, so why not make it one-stop and book an eye exam there today?

Let’s break this down and talk numbers about your family’s vision:


8 Signs to Watch Out for in Children (or YOU!):

Your family’s vision needs regular monitoring because things can, do, and will change over time. Sometimes our children’s teachers or caregivers are the ones to notice these little changes, so take heed if they mention anything. My kids went for regular eye exams every spring, but one autumn her dad noticed she asked for binoculars at a sporting event when everyone else could see the players with no problem. Sure enough, in the seasons between, her vision had changed enough to require glasses. This would have been detected at her next exam, but if you notice one or more of the signs below – or anything that concerns you or your child about their vision – make an appointment with an optometrist; it can’t hurt, and it will only help.

  • Difficulty reading
  • Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Sensitivity to light or excessive tearing
  • Closing one eye to read or watch TV
  • Avoiding using a computer because it hurts their eyes
  • Having trouble seeing the chalk board
  • A sudden drop in grades


1 in 7 Canadians Will Develop a Serious Eye Disease

If you take a group of seven people, know this: one of seven will at some time develop a serious eye disease. An eye health professional like an optometrist can detect things you’d be surprised to hear about from an eye-specialist; things like hypertension, high cholesterol, vascular disease, thyroid disease, brain tumors, and diabetes! This is why having your eyes checked on a regular basis should be part of your overall health care regimen.

Other things can make themselves clear at the optometrist as well, and even if you don’t wear glasses or your prescription hasn’t changed in years you should still be going regularly for checkups, as your optometrist will be on the lookout for cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy. These are the top four causes of vision loss in seniors and the earlier they are diagnosed, the better chance of treatment.


25 per cent (1 in 4) School-Aged Children Have Vision Problems…

… and they are almost always correctable!

We’ve come a long way since even the 1980s, when my third-grade teacher had everyone but “Mike” leave the room. She announced that Mike would be returning after the weekend with glasses, and anyone caught poking fun or teasing him would be… well, let’s just say she threatened us with something it was okay to say in the early 80’s. (Spoiler: it involved cleaning staff room toilets.)

Not many kids seemed to wear glasses back then and it was rare enough for my teacher’s announcement/threat, but now we have better methods of detecting vision problems. Fast forward to today and one in four school children has a vision issue, most commonly treated with glasses. Thankfully though, kids who need glasses can generally acquire them and no one bats an eye. Plus, glasses are totally cool today and instead of the two pairs available in the 80s (“Boy Nerd” and “Girl Nerd”) there are now countless eye glass styles, designs, and sizes on the market for kids of any age. My glasses-wearing nine-year-old never had a problem finding pairs to suit her changing fashion desires, and my 20/20 sighted son was almost jealous every time we’d pop in for a new pair for her!


Children Should Start Seeing an Optometrist at 6 Months

We’ve all seen video of teeny babies getting glasses for the first time, and we all know how incredible it must be for the little ones to finally see the focused faces of those they love. Babies can have eye exams starting at 6 months and while it’s likely vision tests of some sort have already been performed by your family doctor or pediatrician, there are pediatric optometrists who specialize in the smallest members of our families when issues arise.

My son had his first eye exam with our family optometrist at age 3, and she used a chart with pictures he could identify instead of letters. She also checked his eye health, ability to focus, and other indicators for eye health. Just because they’re little doesn’t mean they don’t need to have regular eye exams!

Starting eye care early and keeping it a regular part of your family’s health routine is the best way to ensure everyone can see clearly for a long time. There’s so much greatness to experience in the world and optometrists help you keep seeing it!