By Alexa Kaczka
A new scheme is being rolled out in Canada in an attempt to encourage improved eye health among children of kindergarten age.
The Alberta Association of Optometrists has announced that it will be launching an Eye See Eye Learn programme that will aim to address the impact that poor eyesight can have on children's educational progress, CTV has reported.
It will be funded by Alberta Education and provide school children from participating schools a free pair of glasses.
Dr Diana Monea, an optometrist, told the news provider that it is crucial for parents to have their children's eyes tested at an early age.
She said: "Why wouldn't you, in terms of development of children, get your child's eyes examined because remember many careers are based on whether you can see or not."
While the state currently funds eye tests and exams, until now there has not been the funding available to cover the cost of buying the glasses themselves.
CTV reported that many doctors have already shown that early interventions like this can be crucial in preventing learning difficulties.
It highlighted the case of Jasmine Walia, aged four and a half, who started to experience difficulties in school after her teacher moved her to the back of the class and she found she could not see the blackboard.
Her mother took part in the programme and she reported that her daughter has begun to show improvements in her academic performance already and has reported being very happy now that she has the glasses.
A total of one third of the 50,000 kindergarten students in the state took part in the scheme last year and approximately 1,600 received new glasses as a result of the initiative.
Eyesight problems among the elderly were recently highlighted in a Bausch + Lomb report that found that 61 per cent of Brits believe that vision issues will be the biggest problem they face as they grow older.
by Adrian Galbreth