MONTREAL—A recent survey conducted by Essilor, part of EssilorLuxottica, a leading global eyecare and eyewear provider, reveals that children’s eye health and vision are often overlooked by parents. The survey, which sampled responses from 1,019 Canadian parents, reveals that one in six Quebec parents have never brought their children to the eye doctor, while most Quebec parents (81.1 percent) have brought their child to the dentist within the past year. A common vision condition to look out for is myopia, according to the company, and there are a number of treatments that can slow myopia progression in children, teenagers and young adults.

“By treating vision and ocular health with the same importance as we do with dental health, we can help ensure our children are set up for success in the long run,” said Dr. Langis Michaud, optometrist, professor at the School of Optometry of the Université de Montréal, eye health expert and Essilor spokesperson.

According to research, 80 percent of all learning occurs through vision. Yet, results from this new survey reveals that an estimated 12,000 children across the province (3.1 percent) experienced a drop in school performance before parents realized that there was a visual problem.

“Children will not complain if their eyes are not well coordinated or if they have difficulty seeing the board at school. Some of these situations are treatable with exercises or ophthalmic lenses, but they go untreated if they are not detected. Many parents across Quebec may benefit from learning more about how preventive eyecare can help maintain their children's academic success,” explained Dr. Michaud.

Only one third of parents, who took part in the new survey, indicated that their children’s need for corrective lenses was identified during a regular visit to an eye doctor or their family physician. “By 2050, it is estimated that half of the world’s populations will be myopic, and more concerning, 10 percent highly myopic. With myopia cases among children increasing, comprehensive eye exams by an optometrist should be a top priority for parents,” added Dr. Michaud.

With the survey finding that nearly half (44.7 percent) of children struggling with their vision before their need for corrective lenses are recognized, an eye exam with an optometrist can make a big difference in a child’s life.

“The younger a child becomes myopic, the faster the condition is likely to progress. While myopia can potentially lead to severe vision impairment, the good news is that with regular eye exams, starting at a young age, it can be caught early on, addressed and managed,” said Dr. Michaud.