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Off Highway 50 – Next to Arcadia Academy of Music

Developmental Eye Exams

Sometimes optometrists carry out their vision examination too quickly. With a packed waiting room, the optometrist naturally needs to attend to each patient within a limited time period, unfortunately, the budget eye exams are often at the expense of proper care. However, the vast majority of optometrists take their with every patient and perform in-depth care.

For a child's eye exam, only optometrists that specialize in the developmental aspect of vision can assess the aspects of vision that relate directly to your child's ability to read and learn.

A child who has difficulty reading and learning at school often times has a vision issue. If your child has difficulty reading, concentrating, or doing near work, an in-depth developmental eye exam is needed.

A developmental eye exam takes longer than a standard eye exam but will assess your child's vision as it pertains to the visual skills that are used for school and learning as well as a comprehensive examination of eye health.

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Developmental Eye Exam

Sometimes optometrists carry out their vision examination too quickly. With a packed waiting room, the optometrist naturally needs to attend to each patient within a limited time period, unfortunately, the budget eye exams are often at the expense of proper care. However, the vast majority of optometrists take their with every patient and perform in-depth care.

For a child's eye exam, only optometrists that specialize in the developmental aspect of vision can assess the aspects of vision that relate directly to your child's ability to read and learn.

A child who has difficulty reading and learning at school often times has a vision issue. If your child has difficulty reading, concentrating, or doing near work, an in-depth developmental eye exam is needed.

A developmental eye exam takes longer than a standard eye exam but will assess your child's vision as it pertains to the visual skills that are used for school and learning as well as a comprehensive examination of eye health.

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Key symptoms

  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty copying from one piece to another
  • Loss of place or repetition while reading
  • Poor posture when reading or writing
  • Poor handwriting
  • Can respond orally but cannot get the same information down on paper
  • Letter and word reversal
  • Difficulty judging sizes and shapes.
Signs and Symptoms of Learning-Related Vision Problems

What you should pay attention for before an eye exam

  • Frequent headaches or eye strain
  • Blurring of distance or near vision, especially after reading or other close work
  • Avoidance of close work or other visually demanding tasks
  • Poor depth perception
  • Turning of an eye up or down, in or out
  • Tendency to cover or close an eye to favor the vision in the other eye
  • Dislike or avoidance of reading and close work.

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What do we test for?

During a developmental eye exam, a comprehensive vision evaluation which involves refraction (testing for corrective lenses), accommodation (eye focusing), binocular vision (eye teaming), visual processing abilities, as well as oculomotor skills (eye movement control) among other tests.

These are vital tests which are then used to determine if your child’s visual skills are developed enough for studying, learning, and reading ability in school. There are 11 visual skills alone that are used for reading. If a child is underdeveloped in even one skill, they will have a harder time reading, and processing the information. This often leads to disillusionment with school and academic success, and all too often behavioural issues.

Dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, & Learning Disabilities


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Dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, & Learning Disabilities

There is a strong research backed connection between vision and ADHD/ADD. For more information on ADD and the connection with Convergence Insufficiency please see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16361187. The majority of vision-based reading and learning problems are often caused as a result of challenges in eye teaming, tracking, focusing, or visual processing. Many of the signs of attention and behavioural problems are the very same symptoms of underdeveloped visual skills. We have countless patients whose symptoms could easily have been misdiagnosed as ADHD, often times parents are amazed at the transformation as the child finally feels they have a chance to succeed.

Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness occurs when dizziness is caused by visual stimuli.

Children who struggle with reading and learning in school, have been diagnosed or show symptoms of ADHD or are in an Individualized Education Program (IEP), should also have an in-depth vision evaluation.

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Tips for parents before your child's eye exam
  • Pay attention to symptoms that may indicate vision issues 
  • Make sure to bring up your findings to your optometrist 
  • If your child is displaying difficulty reading, concentrating on near work, poor handwriting, or headaches after reading, schedule an eye exam with a developmental or vision therapy optometrist.
  • Make sure the optometrist takes the time needed to do a comprehensive assessment as well as discuss lifestyle changes such as protecting from UV and blue light. 
  • If your child has nearsightedness or Myopia make sure you speak to your optometrist about myopia management as soon as possible. 
  • We believe that every child should have a developmental eye exam, as 20% of children have a vision issue that affects their learning. 
Meet Our Developmental Optometrists
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Dr. Virginia Donati

Dr. Donati has been practicing optometry in Peel since her residency in 2005. She was born and raised in Brampton and is thrilled to be serving the community. After high school, she attended the University of Waterloo when she earned her Bachelor of Science degree. She then headed to Philadelphia...
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Dr. Michelle McKenzie

Dr. McKenzie is a graduate of the University of Waterloo. She holds Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees. She completed an internship in Ocular Health with OMNI Vision Centre in Atlanta, Georgia and is TPA certified. Dr. McKenzie has a particular interest in binocular vision and neuro-rehabilitative optometry....
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Dr. Olivia Wiebe

Dr. Olivia Wiebe is an optometrist and associate at Bolton Optometry Clinic. She received her Doctor of Optometry from the University of Waterloo in 2017. During her schooling, she completed externships in ocular disease in Pinellas Park, Florida, primary care in Niagara Falls, Ontario, as well as vision therapy and...
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