Health Topics

Visual Health Services

Good eyesight is important for children to be able to play and learn.  Children who cannot see well may have problems with reading, hand-eye coordination and speech.

Every year in Ontario:

  • 15,000 children have trouble learning to read because they need glasses
  • 7000 children lose the use of one eye because they have an eye problem that is not treated in time.

Statistics from

Find an Optometrist

College of Optometrists of Ontario
Phone 1-888-825-2554
All optometrists in Hamilton included; search by language available

Ontario Assoc. of Optometrists
Phone 1-800-540-3837
Only optometrists in Hamilton that belong to OAO included

Signs of an eye problem

Your child may not tell you they have problems seeing, because they have never experienced good vision. You may not notice your child is having problems with their eyes. Learn more about signs of vision problems.  Based on information from the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) and the Canadian Association of Optometrists

Factsheets to help you access resources for your child's eyesight:

Visit an optometrist if you notice any of these signs:

  • Squinting or holding objects close to the eyes
  • Blinking often
  • Turning or tilting the head to the side often
  • Covering or closing one eye
  • One eye that turns out or in
  • Rubbing, tearing, itchy or burning eyes
  • Reporting blurry or double vision
  • Reporting headaches, nausea or eye strain

Other signs that can be related to a vision problem:

  • Short attention span
  • Day dreaming
  • A dislike of near work (eg. reading, playing with Lego)
  • Skipping words, letters or lines when reading or taking notes from the board
  • Using a finger or moving the head to track when reading
  • Trouble reading, difficulty remembering what was read or poor comprehension
  • Delayed learning of the alphabet
  • Persistent letter, number or word reversals
  • Not completing assignments on time
  • Difficulty with geometric shapes
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Poor performance in school
  • Behavioural problems that stem from frustration

Yes. An eye doctor will do a comprehensive eye exam. This is the best way to make sure your child can see well and that their eyes are healthy. Children up to age 19 can get their eyes checked for free with an Ontario health card.

Yes. Vision screening does not replace an eye exam. The screening includes 3 short tests. These can show some risk factors for certain vision disorders. Eye exams are used to prevent, diagnose and treat vision disorders.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends:

Infants & Toddlers

First eye exam between 6 and 9 months of age

Preschool Children

At least one eye exam between 2 and 5 years of age

School Age Children

Eye exam every year from 6 to 19 years of age

There are programs in Hamilton that can help families that need assistance with getting glasses. Call Hamilton Public Health Services at 905-546-2424 x5369 to find out more about these programs or visit the links below.

Families who need assistance

One Sight OnSite Voucher Program

  • LensCrafters Lime Ridge Mall
    Phone 905-574-3101
  • LensCrafters Eastgate Square
    Phone 905-578-3292
  • Pearle Vision Lime Ridge Mall
    Phone 905-318-4103
  • For families with low income
  • Available through LensCrafters® and Pearle Vision®
  • Free glasses with a letter from a local non-profit that verifies financial need

Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

  • For families on OW or ODSP
  • Free glasses every time your child’s prescription changes
  • Families can talk to their OW or ODSP Case Worker to find out more

Special Supports Program
Phone 905-546-2590

Junior Kindergarten Children

Eye See…Eye Learn

  • For children entering Junior Kindergarten
  • Free glasses with an eye exam by an Eye See…Eye Learn® optometrist between July 1 and June 30 of the Junior Kindergarten year
  • Find an Eye See…Eye Learn optometrist

Resettled refugees and refugee claimants

Interim Federal Health Program

  • For protected persons, including resettled refugees, refugee claimants and certain other groups
  • Eyeglasses are part of this program

First Nations and Inuit

Non-insured Health Benefits Program
Phone 1-800-640-0642

  • For First Nations persons registered under the Indian Act, Inuit recognized by an Inuit land claim organization and their children up to 18 years of age
  • Eyeglasses and eyeglass repairs are a part of this program