The ability to see is something that many of us do not take for granted. This is especially true when it comes to our little ones and the value of having their eyes checked from the moment that they are born cannot be understated.
The main reason is because children have not been on this planet long enough to figure out if their eyes are working properly or not. Your child may be suffering in silence without realising that they have a problem. Furthermore, many eye problems may not be obvious to parents and they may go undetected for years without the intervention of an optometrist (Doctor of Optometry).
Besides this, research has shown that undetected/untreated eye diseases and disorders can gravely affect your child’s education. This is particularly so for younger children who rely heavily on their sight to discover how the world around them works.
It is also worth mentioning that if your child presents with such symptoms as itchy eyes, nausea, headaches and excessive blinking then it is time to book an appointment with an optometrist. Moreover, if you notice that your child needs to hold things very close to their eyes in order to see them clearly then he/she may require medical attention.
According to the Alberta Association of Optometrists, your little one should receive his/her first complete eye examination at the age of six to nine months. This is irrespective of whether your regular doctor has given your child a clean bill of health or not. You see, the optometrist is trained to look for problems that the other doctor may have missed so don’t shy away from paying him/her a visit.
After the initial visit you should remember to get your child comprehensively checked at least once between their second and fifth birthdays. And from the age of six these check-up should become a yearly occurrence. During these routine check-ups, the doctors will check for such problems as nearsightedness/farsightedness, crossed eyes, astigmatism, lazy eye etc. They will also check the general condition of your child’s vision and eye co-ordination.
Now that we have established that getting your children’s eyes checked at an early age is good for them how do you go about getting the actual check-up? Of course, you need to identify an optometrist and book an appointment. That’s the easy part since there are many registered optometrists within the Edmonton area. You really don’t have much to worry about at this point. Edmonton Vision Centre is one of the best optical centres in Edmonton with highly qualified optometrists on site.
What might have you worried is how to pay for these check-ups but fortunately for you the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) has you sorted. If you are covered by this provincial health care plan then your children that are aged between one and eighteen years are entitled to one complete optometric exam every year courtesy of the AHCIP.
In addition to this your children also get one partial exam and one diagnostic procedure each year. However, you need to bear in mind that according to the insurer the year runs from July 1 to June 30 and all these check-ups must to be carried out within Alberta.
And there is more good news: AHCIP has partnered with the Alberta Association of Optometrists to give you the Eye See…Eye Learn Program. Under this initiative children in kindergarten undergo checkups that are paid for by the insurer and can also receive a free pair of spectacles if they need them.
In a nutshell, the Government of Alberta wants its children to enjoy all the beautiful things that this life has to offer and it has taken deliberate steps to ensure that this happens. All that remains is for you as a parent to take advantage of its services. But in case you have any questions about the charges and procedures that you encounter at the optometrist’s don’t hesitate to get answers from both your doctor and your insurer.