Friendly Care for Your Child’s Eyes
Your child’s healthy development relies on good vision, so an eye exam is an essential part of their health care. And because it’s not always possible to know when your child has vision problems, bringing them to see the eye doctor regularly helps ensure you’re on top of any changes to their growing eyes.
Whether you’re bringing in your child for their first eye exam, or they’re already familiar with the experience of sitting behind the Phoroptor, we’ll aim to keep them comfortable throughout their exam.
Your Child’s Eye Exam
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends children have their first eye exam between the ages of 6 and 9 months and their second exam between ages 2 and 5 before they start preschool. Once they start school, children should have annual eye exams.
We can perform an eye exam for your child even before they can read. Their eye exam includes:
- Asking you for a family health history
- Checking their eyes’ ability to focus and move together
- Checking how their pupils react to light
- Assessing any refractive error, either with an eye chart and Phoroptor for older children or by dilating the eyes and using a retinoscope to get an objective measure of any refractive error for younger children
Common Childhood Vision Concerns
At all ages, children rely on their vision to experience the world and learn the skills that will support them for a lifetime, from reading and writing to social skills. According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, 25% of school-aged Canadian kids have a vision problem. An uncorrected vision problem can lead to frustration in school, behaviour issues, and even later school dropout.
During an eye exam, we’ll assess your child for common vision concerns so problems with their vision won’t hold them back.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Amblyopia is weak vision or vision loss in one eye, often due to an uncorrected prescription or a big difference in the refractive error between the 2 eyes.
It won’t resolve on its own, so amblyopia is best treated before age 6 when treatment is most effective.
One common treatment involves covering the stronger eye with a patch so the brain is forced to rely on the weaker eye. Over time, this strengthens the vision in the weaker eye.
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
Strabismus can occur if a child’s eye muscles don’t align. When the eye muscles aren’t working together, the brain receives 2 different images from each eye. This can initially result in blurry vision, but eventually, the brain might start to ignore signals from one eye, causing vision to worsen in that eye and potentially resulting in amblyopia (lazy eye).
Children won’t grow out of strabismus, so it should be treated as soon as possible with eyeglasses, prisms, or vision therapy.
Learn about our strabismus evaluations.
Refractive errors are common across the population. They often start to develop during childhood and may get worse as a child’s eyes continue to grow in the years before adulthood.
Refractive errors include:
- Difficulty focusing on objects far away (nearsightedness)
- Difficulty focusing on near objects (farsightedness)
- Blurry vision at both near and far distances (astigmatism)
If your child has a refractive error, we can correct it with glasses or contacts. Our wide selection of frames includes super durable Nanovista frames for kids.
Eye Coordination & Focusing
Coordination is the eyes’ ability to work together as a team. If the eyes aren’t working together correctly, it can result in blurry vision, fatigue, dizziness, and trouble reading and concentrating.
Accommodation is the eyes’ ability to focus at reading distance and when switching between focusing on nearby and distant objects. If your child is having difficulty with accommodation, they might have trouble with tasks like looking from the classroom board to the assignment in front of them.
Both coordination and accommodation can be addressed wth special eyeglasses and eye exercises.
- 2093 2nd avenue
- Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1B5
- Phone: 867-668-2020
- Fax: 867-667-6526
Find us in downtown Whitehorse across from the Yukon Visitor Information Centre, just steps from Main Street and the Yukon River.
For your convenience, we are wheelchair accessible.
Hours of Operation
- Monday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Thursday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Saturday: Closed
- Sunday: Closed
Hours of operation may vary on holidays.
We’ve been going to Northern Lights Optometry for 20 years. The service has been always first class. The staff are professional, courteous and knowledgeable about the products they sell. This all lead by Dr. Gorrell who is the consummate professional, always gives professional no BS advice and is always friendly. He is fantastic with kids and helped my son make the transition from glasses to contacts when he was 9. 6 starts for me!!
Friendly staff and expert advice. We are very fortunate to have this level of service and selection in Whitehorse. They went above and beyond to help me out in a jam! Thanks for the great service and quality care!
Northern Lights Optometry has taken care of my ocular health for the past 30 years. I’ve never had anything but good experiences. Pleasant, knowledgeable staff and kind, professional service are the standard.
Always a great, professional, and knowledgeable experience for myself and my family, whether it’s a regular eye exam or a diabetic exam. I’ve been a patient at Northern Lights for over 25 years, and I’ve always received the quality customer service I’ve come to expect because that’s what I’ve always received. Great selection of glasses and sunglasses at competitive pricing. I highlight recommend Dr. Gorrell and his staff.
Had been having headaches and fatigue for months when it was suggested I have my eyes checked. Has not had my eyes checked in ten years. I was referred to see Dr. Guy Gorrell by a good friend. Dr. Gorrell was professional and very thorough in his assessment of my eyes and overall vision. In the end Dr. Gorrell was able to diagnose that my eyes did in fact need a prescription lens and my headaches and fatigue were likely due to my straining my eyes to see properly. His friendly and helpful staff assisted me in choosing my frames and in a very short period of time my glasses were available. Since having the prescription glasses my headaches and fatigue have stopped and I am very pleased. I highly recommend Dr. Gorrell and his staff at Northern Lights Optometry.