Back to school eye exams are essential for children


Vision loss in children often confused with hyperactivity, learning disability

(St. John’s, N.L. – Sept. 2, 2015) If a child is born with or develops an issue with their vision in the first five to six years of their lives, their vision loss can be easily overlooked.

In fact, parents, early childhood educators, teachers, nurses and therapists can easily confuse vision loss with inattentiveness, hyperactivity or even a learning disability, according to CNIB.

“There have been cases in Newfoundland and Labrador where children have entered grade one or two – or even later – before a significant vision loss has been detected,” says CNIB’s Early Intervention Specialist, Kimberlie Hart, who helps children and youth reach developmental milestones and build social skills through one-on-one instruction and peer programs.

“Some of this confusion is due to the fact that children have no way of recognizing their vision loss, assuming that everyone sees the way they do, so they adapt,” she says. “Unfortunately, an undiagnosed vision loss can have serious consequences on many aspects of child development.”

Hart suggests if you are a parent of a child who is three months or older, a childhood eye examination by an eye doctor is the only way to ensure your child is seeing as well as you think. It is also highly recommended that children have an eye exam when they start school.

There are approximately 300 children and youth (birth to 18 years) in Newfoundland and Labrador who depend on the vision rehabilitation therapy through CNIB’s Early Intervention Programs.

Hart says these programs bring a sense of relief to parents knowing there is an organization that understands the challenges and can help them help their child find alternate ways of learning. Families discover resources, receive counselling and participate in workshops on raising – and advocating for – a child who is blind or partially sighted.

To arrange an interview with our Early Intervention Specialist contact:

Debbie Ryan
Vision Health Promotion & Communications
CNIB Newfoundland and Labrador
P. 709.754.1180, Extension 5811
C. 709.685.7263

Kimberlie Hart
Specialist, Early Intervention
CNIB, Newfoundland & Labrador
P. 754-1180 x 5803
C. 699-9443

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