THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay District Health Unit have announced the launch of a Children’s Visual Health program. Mandated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, this new program includes school vision screening and visual health promotion. From February to June 2019, free in-school screening for senior kindergarten students in 29 Thunder Bay and District schools will be provided, with plans to screen all SK students in Thunder Bay and District during the 2019-2020 school year.
“Vision plays an important role in a child’s development. Vision problems can impact a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. Left untreated, they can affect a child’s eye health for life,” says Carolyn Tait, manager of the Children’s Visual Health program. “We are excited to offer vision screening to senior kindergarten students, allowing the opportunity to identify signs of potential vision problems early.”
The school vision screenings are conducted by the Health Unit staff. Students are screened using three short, non-invasive tests. Following the screening, a letter is sent home to guardians with their child’s result. All guardians are encouraged to book a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist.
It is important to note that the vision screening program does not replace an appointment with an optometrist. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers yearly comprehensive eye exams for children ages 0 to 19.
In addition to screening, the Children’s Visual Health program also plans to promote visual health on social media, the Health Unit website, and through other resources.
For more information about the Children’s Visual Health program, visit tbdhu.com/vision.