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Every year in Ontario

  • 7000 children needlessly lose the use of an eye because they were not treated promptly for a problem.
  • 15,000 children have trouble learning to read just because they need glasses.

Why

  • The most common problems are hard to spot without formal tests.
  • Family doctors and paediatricians have neither the knowledge nor the equipment to examine eyes.
  • Most parents do not realize how vital early eye checks are.
  • Most parents do not know that OHIP covers eye exams for children.
  • Many parents think glasses are too expensive.
  • Some parents perceive wearing glasses to be stigmatizing.
  • Some parents believe that glasses weaken eyes.

The fix

Before Grade 1 every child's eyes ought to be checked and treated if necessary. For this reason, as of September, 2018, Ontario Public Health are requiring local public-health units to see that all children in senior kindergarten be screened, and to have every child showing a possible problem referred to an optometrist.

But this is easier said than done. Ontario is vast and every year 150,000 children enter school.

We are researchers at McMaster and SickKids who have been working on ways to do this efficiently. We have done scientific tests of various screening methods and how well they predict the results of optometric exams. We have also screened thousands of kindergarteners from village schools in the far north to large schools in Toronto, and worked out practical procedures. Our experience has helped Ontario Public Health to define their standards. On this web site we are offering some background information to parents and some practical tips to public-health units on how to implement the programme.

Note, for the record, that these pages reflect our knowledge and opinions, not the Ministry's.

Who we are

  • Daphne Maurer, PhD, FRCS, Distinguished University Professor, McMaster University
  • Agnes Wong, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Ophthalmologist, The Hospital for Sick Children

Neither of us has received any remuneration for this project and neither of us stands to benefit from it financially in any way.

Address questions to our Director of Research , PhD, or to .


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