PANORAMA RIDGE — The change in Edward was astounding.
Edward Parker had trouble at school, was clumsy and struggled to read early on. Initially he was diagnosed as having mild autism, but after a referral to Dr. Sandy Johal of Panorama Optometry, the Vancouver boy discovered at age seven that the real problem was his vision.
"Before vision therapy, his eyes were not aligned," said Johal. "What we would see is that one of the eyes would actually turn out and he would have double vision."
It's apparently a fairly common problem, she said, but with vision therapy to train his eye muscles, his mom Renee noticed dramatic improvement in just a matter of weeks.
"I've noticed Edward improving in other areas, you know, like the art that he's doing - it's really stepped up," said his mom.
Now that Edward is 10, he has discovered a love of books.
"I love reading," he said, adding, "I am now a very good goalie when it comes to hockey and soccer."
October is Eye Health Month and Johal and other optometrists want people to know how important it is to have children's vision checked thoroughly. The general recommendation is that kids are checked at six months of age, have one exam between two and five years old and then yearly after that.
"I personally think six months of age and yearly after that," said Johal.
She said the earlier a condition is caught, the better the prognosis, and since children's eyes change so much in the first few years, it's best to check more often than not.
Most vision problems have no obvious symptoms, said Johal, and some eye diseases only show symptoms when it is too late. Too many parents wrongly believe they would know if there was an issue needing treatment.
She also cautions against buying eyewear online.
"There was a study that found almost half of eyewear ordered online failed at least one parameter of ocular or impact testing."
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