Vision Screening

Contact(s)

In Ontario, one in four school-aged children has a vision problem. Over 80% of what a child learns in school comes through the eyes. To reach their full potential, children need good vision to read and learn.

A child’s inability to see things clearly can easily go undetected. Screening children in schools is a quick and easy way of spot the need for a more complete eye exam.

The Health Unit is committed to helping children and their families improve awareness of visual health through the school vision screening program.

School vision screening program  

Visual screening is a visual assessment for students in Senior Kindergarten (SK). The screening does not replace your child’s visit to an optometrist.

Parents and guardians will receive a letter through the child’s school letting them know when the vision screening will take place.

On screening day, SK students will be screened by Health Unit staff at school using three short non-invasive tests:

  1. Visual acuity measurement – the student will be asked to recognize letters on a chart to measure the clarity of vision.
  2. 3D vision test – the student will be asked to identify different shapes in a test booklet while wearing 3D glasses to measure depth perception.
  3. Auto-refraction measurement – the student’s eyes will be screened for presence and size of common eye errors. This test is similar with taking a picture and provides measurements of the eye.

Following screening, parents will receive a letter. If a vision problem is found, parents will receive a referral to an optometrist for a complete eye exam. If no vision problem is found, parents are still encouraged to book a complete eye exam with an optometrist.

Vision screening cannot diagnose vision disorders. It is not a replacement for a complete eye exam.

With a valid health card children 0 to 19 years can receive a free annual complete eye exam plus any follow-up exams that may be required. 

 A complete eye examination with the optometrist includes:

  • Reviewing your child’s health history and the family history of eye problems;
  • Checking visual acuity and 3D vision;
  • Checking eye position;
  • Checking eye focusing ability (i.e., how well the eye muscles can focus at different distances);
  • Checking eye health (e.g. allergies, infections);
  • Identifying if your child is meeting visual developmental milestones; and
  • Deciding if your child needs glasses or other treatment (e.g., eye drops, vision therapy, a referral to a health care provider, etc.).

 The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends children and adults should see an optometrist:

  • Age 0 to 2: Infants should have their first eye examination between 6 and 9 months.
  • Age 2 to 5: Preschool children should have at least one eye exam.
  • Age 6 to 19: School children should have an eye exam every year.
  • Age 20 to 39: Adults should have an eye exam every 2 to 3 years.
  • Age 40 to 64: Adults should have an eye exam every 2 years.
  • Over age 65: Older adults should have an eye exam every year.

 

If you need more information, if your child missed screening day, or if you don’t want your child to have the vision screenings, please contact the Health Unit at 705-474-1400 ext. 5328 or toll free 1-800-563-2808. You can also send us an email to vision@healthunit.ca

Assistance with the cost of prescription eyeglasses 

Eye See… Eye Learn…®

The Eye See…Eye Learn® program encourages parents to book a complete eye exam with a local, optometrist before the child begins Junior Kindergarten. The cost of the eye exam is covered by OHIP. If the child needs eyeglasses, a free pair is donated with the generous support of eyewear partners.

Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program

Vision Care Benefits

Families receiving financial assistance from Ontario Works can contact their caseworker for information on assistance with the cost of prescription glasses.

If you are receiving Ontario Disability Support Program income support, and do not have vision care coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), you and your family may be able to get help with vision care costs.

Coverage for lenses and frames:

All eligible persons for Vision Care Benefits may receive new lenses and frames every 3 years when necessary. For children, assistance with the cost of new lenses may be provided anytime there is a change in prescription.

Visit the website for more information:

Ontario Disability Support Program Health Benefits: Vision

Ontario Disability Support Program Income Support

Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program, office locations and contact information.

Low-Income Families

Help with the cost of prescription eyeglasses may be available for low-income families. Contact Low Income People Involvement of Nipissing (LIPI), 705-472-1337, lipi@lipinipissing.com.

Services for the Blind

Ontario’s Blind – Low Vision Early Intervention Program provides support for children who are born blind or with low vision. Specialized family-centered services are funded by the province and are available for children from birth to Grade 1.

Non-insured health benefits (NIHB) for First Nations and Inuit

The Government of Canada provides vision care benefits for registered First Nations and recognized Inuit throughout Canada.  

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808