Healthy vision and successful learning go hand in hand

OTTAWA, Sept. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) is pleased to announce that this year's Eye Health Month theme is Look. See. Learn. The focus is children's vision and the importance of eye exams in early childhood to detect and prevent serious eye disease.

Since 80 per cent of classroom learning is visual, it's extremely important for parents to have their children's eyes tested prior to them starting school. School children with poor eyesight may fail to progress educationally and could even exhibit reading or learning disabilities.

"It's so important that children's eyes are checked thoroughly by an optometrist when they're young. Even if they have 20/20 vision they can still have other problems with their eyes," says Lil Linton, president of CAO. "A lot of parents don't realize this."

In late 2011, CAO published the Frequency of Exam Examinations - Guideline in the Canadian Journal of Optometry, Vol. 73, No. 4, Fall, 2011. These updated guidelines recommend that children's eye be tested for the first time when they are between 6 months - 24 months; followed by one eye exam each year between the ages of 2 and 19 years.

"Many people tend not to worry about their vision unless they have a problem," says Glenn Campbell, CAO executive director. "Children may think that what they see is normal even though it's not. The earlier they are checked the better."

CAO's annual Eye Health Month campaign runs from October 1 to 31 each year and has focused on topics such as vision and aging, and computer vision syndrome.

About the Canadian Association of Optometrists
The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) is a professional association that represents over 4,500 doctors of optometry in Canada. CAO's mission is to enhance the quality, availability, and accessibility of eye, vision and related health care; to enhance and promote the independent and ethical decision making of its members; and to assist optometrists in practicing successfully in accordance with the highest standards of patient care.

Frequency of Eye Examinations - Guideline

The need for periodic optometric examination has been recognized for many years. Vision and ocular health conditions are not always accompanied by recognizable symptoms. There is often an increased risk to the patient if treatment is not initiated early enough. Relying on the occurrence of obvious symptoms in order to initiate an eye examination exposes the patient to an unnecessary risk.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists accepted the recommendations contained in the Review of the Canadian Association of Optometrists Frequency of Eye Examinations Guideline - An Evidence-Based Approach.1 (See chart.)

Many factors influence the recommended frequency of optometric examinations. Only the examining optometrist, upon the analysis of all factors, including the patient's overall health, can determine when a particular patient should return for follow-up. Some of the factors which would indicate high risk are as follows:

Infants and Toddlers and Pre-school
Premature birth; low birth weight; mother having rubella; sexually transmitted disease, AIDS related infection; or other medical problems during pregnancy; mother having a history of substance abuse prior to or during pregnancy; family history of high refractive error or eye disease; turned eyes; or congenital eye disorders.

School Age
Children failing to progress educationally; children exhibiting reading and/or learning disabilities.

Adult
Diabetes; hypertension; family history of glaucoma; those who work in visually demanding or eye hazardous conditions.

Older Adult
Diabetes; hypertension; family history of glaucoma; those taking systemic medication with ocular side effects.

   
Age Group Recommendation*
   
Infants and toddlers
(birth to 24 months)
Infants and toddlers should undergo their first eye examination between the ages of 6 and 9 months.
Preschool children
(2 to 5 years)
Preschool children should undergo at least one eye examination between the ages of 2 and 5 years.
School-age children
(6 to 19 years)
School children aged 6 to 19 years should undergo an eye examination annually.
Adults
(20 to 39 years)
Adults aged 20 to 39 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 to 3 years.
Adults
(40 to 64 years)
Adults aged 40 to 64 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 years.
Adults
(65 years or older)
Adults aged 65 years or older should undergo an eye examination annually.

* Guidelines are not appropriate for all clinical situations.

 ________________________________

  1. Review of the Canadian Association of Optometrists Frequency of Eye Examinations Guideline - An Evidence-Based Approach, Principal Investigators: Barbara E. Robinson, PhD., Paul Stolee, PhD. Research Team: Katie Mairs, MSc., Selena Santi, MA., Christine Glenny, MSc. Prepared by: Katie Mairs, MSc. University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

 

SOURCE: Canadian Association of Optometrists

For further information:

to set up an interview, contact us at:

Jennifer Hood
Public relations manager
Canadian Association of Optometrists 
media@opto.ca

Glenn Campbell
Executive Director
Canadian Association of Optometrists
glenn@opto.ca

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Canadian Association of Optometrists

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