October is an exciting month! Between Thanksgiving and Halloween, there’s a lot of opportunities to gather the family together, enjoy some quality time, and enjoy the fruits of the summer’s labour. It’s also a particularly important month in the optometry world; Children’s Vision Month! Taking care of your little one’s eyes is incredibly important, and there’s no better time of season to talk to them about their vision; without eyes in tip-top shape, how will they see the ghosts and ghouls creeping around the trees on Halloween?

Your child’s vision is incredibly important to their growth; some studies have shown that 80 percent of what a child learns in school is presented visually. This means that the worse your child’s vision is, the harder a time they’ll have learning; such impediments can pile up over time. Learning is, after all, a set of building blocks; if your child has a hard time grasping basic concepts simply because they can’t see, they’ll have a hard time understanding new concepts related that are built on top of the base.

Children may also have difficulty expressing vision problems; this could be because they are quite young and don’t have the proper language to express themselves, but it could also be because they don’t realize their vision is worse than that of their peers; they might assume that everybody sees the way they do, having not yet developed the social skills to understand differences in eyesight. That’s why it’s important to schedule regular trips to the optometrist; infants should have their first appointment between 6 and 9 months, then sometime before the age of 5; speak with your Winnipeg optometrist to find out exactly when to come back in the early stages. Once your child is 5 years old, it’s prudent to go back every year.

You can check for signs that your child is having vision problems, even if they can’t communicate them to you! When playing sports, if your child has a hard time discerning depth and tries to catch too soon or too late, or seems to consistently hit the rim of the basketball net, it may be a sign of problems. When they’re sitting too close to the TV screen, it may be because they can’t see properly! Should you notice that they regularly bump into objects, it’s yet another sign it’s time to visit the optometrist. Another place you can look for clues is bedtime reading; if your child has a hard time making out the words on the page, it can be a sign of vision problems, and one you should address as quickly as possible; after all, there’s a lot of reading in school.

KidsHealth has a plethora of tips on taking care of your child’s vision; one tip is to let your child pick out their own frames when they get new glasses. You can guide them a bit in these decisions, but remember that giving them agency here will make them more inclined to wear the glasses and continue visits to the optometrist; they feel like their in control, which is key for habit forming.