Visual health is an important part of a child’s overall well-being, development and long-term health outcomes. Proper vision is important for a child’s movement and coordination, independence, play and learning. If left untreated, vision problems may become serious and prevent a child from reaching their full potential.
Children and youth (0-19 years old) are eligible for a free exam by an eye doctor every 12 months through OHIP (Ontario health card). Visit the College of Optometrists of Ontario to find a local optometrist.
What can I expect during a comprehensive eye exam?
A comprehensive eye exam is a full assessment of the eye and vision system. This service includes:
- Reviewing child’s health history and the family history of eye problems
- Checking visual acuity and 3D vision
- Checking eye alignment
- Checking eye focusing ability
- Checking eye health (i.e. allergies, infections)
- Identifying if the child is meeting visual developmental milestones
- Determination of need for eyeglasses or other treatment (i.e. eye drops, vision therapy, a referral to a healthcare provider, etc.)
Why are eye exams important?
Young children may not know they have a vision problem because they assume everyone sees like they do. Eye exams are an effective way to identify children with vision problems It is important for vision problems to be caught and treated early so that children can see and learn to the best of their ability.
How often should an infant or child go to the eye doctor?
The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that all children have their first eye exam at 6 months old, again at 3 years old, and every year after that.
Children and youth (0-19 years old) are eligible for a free exam by an eye doctor every 12 months through OHIP (Ontario health card).
For more information on exams for infants and children, please visit the Ontario Association of Optometrists website.
We don’t currently have a family eye doctor. Can you help?
I need assistance paying for the cost of prescription glasses for my child. What are my options?
Eye See…Eye Learn®
The Eye See…Eye Learn® program encourages parents to book a comprehensive eye exam for their kindergarten child with a local, participating optometrist. The eye exam is covered by OHIP. If a child in junior or senior kindergarten needs glasses, they will receive a complimentary pair donated by Plastic Plus, Modern Optical Canada and the participating optometrist. Find a participating optometrist near you and book your child’s eye exam. Participating doctors will have Eye See…Eye Learn® doctor next to their name.
Sight for Success
Sight for Success a program that promotes childhood vision health by providing a financial subsidy to support the purchase of glasses to children in WDG (grades 1-12) with identified financial need. Learn more.
Additional Programs and Organizations
Below are some additional programs and organizations that may assist with the cost of prescription eyeglasses.
|Lions Club International
The Lions Club may provide financial assistance for the cost of prescription eyeglasses.
Contact your local Lions Club organization for more information on assistance with prescription glasses expenses.
|Families receiving assistance from Ontario Works can contact their local Ontario Works office for more information on assistance with vision care expenses for your children, including prescription eyeglasses.
|Ontario Disability Support Program
|Families receiving assistance Ontario Disability Support Program can contact their local Ontario Works office for more information on assistance with vision care expenses for your children, including prescription eyeglasses.
|Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)
|The IFHP provides limited, temporary coverage of health-care benefits to resettled refugees, refugee claimants and certain other groups who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance.
|Non-Insured Health Benefits Program (for First Nations and Inuit)
Non-insured health benefits for First Nations and Inuit.
The program provides eligible clients with coverage for benefits not available under other federal, provincial, territorial or private health insurance.
Vision care benefits are covered in accordance with program policies. These policies are set out in the NIHB Vision Care Benefit Policy Framework and Vision Care Benefit List. Benefits must be provided by an NIHB-recognized provider.
Ontario. Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Child Visual Health and Vision Screening Protocol, 2018. [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 August 28]. Available from: http://health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/oph_standards/docs/protocols_guidelines/Child_Visual_Health_and_Vision_Screening_Protocol_2018_en.pdf