I tip my hat to the mothers of this world. Unswerving, unrelenting care and attention to their families is what we get from them, our most important influences, and often with no demand of anything in return. We need to do more as a community to support parents, but mothers in particular, given the relatively greater burden they shoulder in domestic affairs and the raising of children. There are many ways we can do this, and keep the costs in check, but as that discussion is largely unrelated to vision, I’ll turn my attention to one simple thing we can all do.
The moms who attend my clinic are always fascinated in what they learn about their children’s vision. Frankly, they’re not used to the sort of examination we provide, nor are they accustomed to the sorts of observations and recommendations we make. Eye exams are commonly a matter of minutes, especially where children are concerned. My view is that children are in greater need of attention, especially at the beginning. We do a full A-Z assessment at the first examination, and we look for things that are often covered in ‘general’ eye exams. This is based on the premise that if you never look for something, you’ll never see it. After the first assessment, exam time is usually shorter, depending on what the child’s needs are.
More often than not, when mothers bring their children in for an exam, after all the testing, measurement, and observations, I can provide insight into behavior that is often noticed by the parent but not associated with vision, or not addressed by other developmental professionals. This is a reflection of how important vision is in the life of a developing child. Again, more often than not, these observations are made before the parent makes any comment of the concerns themselves. Every one of these examinations is a fun and educational experience for both mom and the doctor.
Vision care is a critical element in ensuring a child’s success, much like dental care is critical, or the periodic check with the family doctor. Through the Province, all children’s medical care with respect to eyes and vision is covered so there is no direct cost to parents. This is a simple and cost effective thing we, as a community, provide to help parents help their children. For our part, we try to go the extra mile to ensure parents are aware of what their children’s eyes are doing, how their vision works, and how this can and will affect behavior. It is also our policy that no child should go without care and, regardless of family income – something we do as part of our commitment to mothers and families.
Early attention to vision is a simple and cost-effective means of preventing trouble before it grows into a monster, and all moms and dads will surely appreciate that.