The earlier the better.

That is the advice from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit when it comes to screening your children for eye problems.

Regular eye exams in childhood are important because not every child will show signs of vision problems,” said Debby Oakley, Program Manager, Oral Health and Vision Screening, at the SMDHU. “Undetected and untreated vision issues can have a negative effect on children, especially once they get to school where so much of learning is visual.”

The long term effects can be learning issues, poor achievement in school and isolation from other kids.  Experts say up to 80 per cent of learning in school is visual.

Kids should start getting eye exams between age six and nine months of age and again between ages two and five years old. After that, it should be done annually.

Eye exams are free for kids with a valid OHIP card up to 19 years of age.

For more information, check the health unit’s website at www.smdhu.org or call Health Connection weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or toll free at 1-877-721-7520.