Eye exams for children

Set your child up for a lifetime of great vision

61% of parents mistakenly believe they'd know if their child had a vision issue

Without an eye exam, it is extremely difficult to know if your child has a problem with their vision. A child's vision is constantly changing, so annual eye exams are essential for development and learning.

If you have a child of kindergarten age, they are eligible for a free pair of eyeglasses through the Eye See Eye Learn (ESEL) program.

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Children learn 80% of what they know visually

When a child has ocular problems that are not diagnosed, their performance in school may suffer. A lack of proper eye care may lead to permanent impairments or misdiagnosis as a behaviour-related issue like dyslexia or ADHD.

Fortunately, there is no reason to delay your child’s exams due to insurance issues or concerns about high appointment costs. Eye exams are fully-covered* for children under 19 and are recommended every year, regardless of prior results.

Insurance coverage explained

Free glasses for kindergarteners

Children of kindergarten age  who have received an eye exam by a Doctor of Optometry are eligible for a free pair of eyeglasses through the Eye See Eye Learn (ESEL) program.

No forms are necessary. Book an appointment with Nation’s Vision and tell them you would like to participate in the  Eye See Eye Learn program.

When should I schedule an eye exam for my child?

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends the following schedule:

• Babies first eye exam should be between six to nine months old

• Children should have at least one exam between the ages 2-5 years old 

• Children between six to 19 years should have an annual eye exam

How do I know if my child may have vision issues?

Even if your child is having regular eye exams, it can also be important to note any of the following symptoms of eye strain or eye health changes between appointments:

• Frequent eye rubbing

• Excessive blinking

• Squinting or covering one eye

• Inability to maintain eye contact

• Lowered concentration while looking at objects

• Headaches or dizziness

• Holding a book close to the face while reading

• Using a finger as a placeholder while reading

• Performing below potential

• Exaggerated clumsiness

What do you look for in my child’s exam?

• General eye health and focusing skills

• Colour blindness

• Near and distance vision

• Eye movement control

• Peripheral perception

What does my child’s exam include?

• A copy of the exam results

• A prescription if necessary

• Access to free or low-cost eyewear provided

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Eye care for children

Every child deserves to see clearly

Nation’s Vision specializes in child eye exams, performing in-school portable exams each year to thousands of low-income children.

Did you know…

1 in 3

children attending priority schools needs glasses

1 in 4

children have a vision problem

1 in 5

children have an undetected vision problem

1 in 6

low-income families requires financial assistance to obtain glasses

3 in 4

children, aged 5 to 9, haven’t been examined by an optometrist


of children experience sudden vision loss in one eye

Lazy eyes and crossed eyes

can lead to impairment and blindness if not corrected before a child reaches age 10


Often, children don't complain about any visual problems. As their eyes grow, it is important to periodically screen for any problems that may go unnoticed but need to be corrected.

We have specialized child-friendly equipment that helps us check their eyes without them saying a single word! We’re thoroughly experienced in examining children and take pride in our skills for providing a fun and friendly environment for your child’s eye exam.

Up to 80% of children with special needs can require glasses, so it’s important not to hesitate in booking an exam. When booking your appointment, let us know about your child’s conditions and needs so that we can prepare to make it as easy as possible for them. We are trained to adapt our eye exams to your child’s needs.

We help kids pick eyewear styles that look great! With over 300 in-stock designer frames we have something for everyone including children and teens.

*Free Exams: Eye care Coverage for Children (0-18 years old)

Most children are covered under insurance programs such as the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP), Alberta Child Health Benefit Program, Interim Federal Health Program, the Non-Insured Health Benefits, and other social benefit programs. Coverage provides for one complete eye exam per year. Eye exam services will be provided free of charge to children who are not covered.

Every child deserves to see clearly

Providing services on-site within the Calgary Catholic School District, Calgary Board of Education and Conseil Scolaire Francosud, annual eye exams are provided to children who have not yet accessed eye care in the community or for the children of parents who find it difficult to access eye care in the community.  

If you'd like to see Nation's Vision host an eyecare clinic at your child's school or the school you teach at, email us at info@nationsvision.ca.

In-School Eye Care Program