When my son started exhibiting signs of eye problems at age 3, my concerns and what should have been a priority to have his eyes checked were unfortunately overshadowed by the chaos of school, birthdays, extra-curricular activities, work and everything else in between. It wasn’t so bad that it was affecting his day-to-day so I kept putting an eye exam on the back-burner. That was a mistake on my part. Sometimes what may look normal to us could pose as a challenge for little eyes.
Both my husband and I have never had any issues with our eyes or had to wear glasses growing up. Mistakenly, we assumed that if we had 20/20 vision, our kids would too. We were wrong! We started noticing our then 3-year-old son looking down to watch television and when he focused on an object, one of his eyes would cross inwards. We thought it was normal given he was still young and that it would somehow “correct itself” once strengthened.

After an eye exam, my 3-year-old son was diagnosed with strabismus, which is lack of coordination between the eyes. It is also a result of being far-sighted. I didn’t realize strabismus runs in families and after further probing, I discovered his father’s older sister had a similar issue when younger.

My son is now 4, and when the option was provided to have our kids’ eyes checked for free PLUS free eyeglasses, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to take my kids in again, especially as we were into the new school year.  

I admit, the thought of paying a hefty amount for prescription eyeglasses on top of my already growing expenditures also played a part in my postponing of an eye check-up for my children, which is why I was pleased to learn of the Kids See Free Program available in Optical Departments at Loblaw grocery stores, including my local Zehrs.
Speaking of cost concerns, cost is one of the biggest barriers to children seeing correctly and Loblaw felt it was important to remove this barrier.

What is the Kids See Free Program?

The Kids See Free program is available for children from ages 4-10 years old who have an eyeglass prescription that is current (received in the last 90 days). They can receive any frame valued up to $49 and single vision, polycarbonate ‘kids-safe’ lens for free. If you wish to upgrade the frame or add any coatings to the lenses, you are responsible for paying the difference. 

The Kids See Free program is available at optical departments located across the country including Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Zehrs, Fortinos, Independent, Atlantic Superstore, and Dominion stores in Newfoundland.

This year my son started kindergarten and the thought of him having learning issues due to his eye sight was worrisome. 

A significant amount of learning is visual.

A single pair of eye glasses can mean the difference between a child thriving at school or falling behind. If they cannot see the board, follow along in a book or focus on the ball, they may struggle in school and extracurricular activities and stop short of achieving their full potential.

How do you know if your child needs an eye exam?

Some signs to watch out for include:

  • Having difficulty reading
  • Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Sensitivity to light or excessive tearing
  • Closing one eye to read or watch TV
  • Avoiding using a computer because it hurts their eyes
  • Having trouble seeing the chalk board
  • A sudden drop in grades

Even if your child has no symptoms or diagnosed vision problems, you should still get their eyes tested annually.

Booking and the actual eye exam was quick and very easy for us.  We have a Zehrs conveniently close-by and I was able to book in an eye exam after school hours.  

The initial thought of having a kindergartener sit still with his eyes being covered one by one was rather daunting but thankfully it went smoothly.  It’s always good to prepare your child before their eye exam and make it a fun and exciting task for them.  Involving them along the way, including choosing their new frames, is a good way to keep them in good spirits.

So, I know the question you really want to ask is this: Is the Kids See Free program really free? Are there any hidden costs?

Yes, it’s free and absolutely no hidden costs at all.  

Kids age 4-10 can come in with their parents and choose any frame up to $49 in the store. The lenses will be single vision, polycarbonate, which are lightweight, UV Protected, impact resistant, “kid’s safe” lenses with a basic scratch resistant coating.

If you decide you would like to upgrade your lens, then you would be responsible for the additional costs that incur.  We did end up upgrading our lens and paid $80 out of our pockets which was still, in my opinion, a good cost for the new frames and prescription lens we selected.  

And more great news – there’s no need to rush!  The Kids See Free program is available year-round so you can get your child’s eyes checked at a time that works best for you.

To learn more about the Kids See Free Program, visit them online at: http://www.zehrs.ca/optical or on Facebook.

Have you had your child’s eye checked yet?  If so, what prompted you to schedule an eye exam for your child?


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Loblaw Optical Departments; however, all opinions expressed are entirely those of the author.

5 comments on “How to Know if Your Child Needs an Eye Exam #KidsSeeFree”

  1. This is so important. My oldest has one very, very weak eye and one near perfect eye. He has been wearing glasses since he was 4 years old. I wish I had brought him to the eye doctor when he was 3 years old.

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