Kindergarten children off to a good start with free eye exams and glasses

Five-year-old Brynlie Desroches tries on her new glasses with Dr. Jayne Toombs and Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson.

Kindergarten students are receiving free eye exams and glasses and getting off to a better start in school with help from the Eye See…Eye Learn program.

“The Eye See…Eye Learn program focuses on early detection of eye and vision problems in young children as they enter the school system,” said Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Henderson. “By removing financial barriers we are seeing vision-related learning problems addressed earlier.”

Island kindergarten students are eligible for the program from July 1 to June 30 each year.

Since it was first introduced in January 2015, 1,300 Island children have received the service. Of those, 25 per cent had corrective lenses recommended, making a positive impact on school performance and reducing risk of educational issues due to undiagnosed vision needs. 40 per cent of children who received the service did not have private insurance and may not have had the opportunity to receive a free formal vision test and corrective lenses.

"This program gives us an opportunity to educate parents on the importance of vision and eye health. Diagnosing vision problems in children can lead to a lifetime of dividends,” said Jayne Toombs, President, Prince Edward Island Association of Optometrists. “Too often children don't complain about not seeing well because they don't know what normal is. Uncorrected vision can affect a child's ability to read, write, and learn and can be the root of poor performance and behavior problems. "

The Eye See… Eye Learn program is provided by the provincial government through Health PEI in partnership with the Prince Edward Island Association of Optometrists and eyewear sponsors Visiontech Labs PEI and Viva Canada Inc.

Government has invested more than $90,000 in the program in its first year.

For more information, visit  Eye See Eye Learn.

Media contact:
Samantha Hughes
Communications Officer
Department of Health and Wellness
(902) 368-5512

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