When a child is unwell, parents can usually tell that something’s wrong as they notice a change in their behavior. However, if a child has vision problems, these may go undetected for a long time.
Signs That a Child Needs Glasses
When vision problems are undetected, they can impact a child’s performance at school and even outside the classroom.
Sitting Close to a TV or Screen
Sitting close to the TV or holding a handheld device close to the eyes could be signs of myopia or nearsightedness. In myopia, a person may see objects near to them clearly, but things farther away will seem blurry. When an object is brought close to the eyes, it makes it seem more clear and bigger.
If a child is nearsighted, they may have trouble reading from the whiteboard in class. They may also hold books closer to the eyes for easier reading.
Tilting the Head or Covering One Eye
Does your child cover one eye when playing a game on the screen, reading a book, or watching TV? These could be signs of amblyopia or lazy eye. Amblyopia is when the vision of one of the eyes is not developed enough. It is one of the most common eye disorders in children.
If you notice your child is squinting, the child may have a refractive error. This impacts how well the eyes can focus on an image. When a child squints, they may improve the focus and see the object more clearly temporarily.
Excessive Eye Rubbing
Children may rub their eyes when they’re sleepy. However, excessive eye rubbing could also signify eye strain, fatigue, or other vision problems. One such medical condition is allergic conjunctivitis, whose symptoms include redness, tearing, itchiness, discharge, etc. Conjunctivitis is also called pink eye. It’s caused due to the infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the membrane that lines the inside of the eyes.
Difficulty in Reading
As young children learn to read, they may use their fingers to point out the words as they’re reading. Suppose the child continues pointing to keep the place. It may be a sign of a vision problem such as amblyopia or lazy eye. In amblyopia, the child’s vision may feel crowded. They may find it difficult to distinguish words, causing them to lose their place frequently or even skip lines.
While reading helps develop a child’s speech, vocabulary, and comprehension, it also allows parents to learn if they have any trouble reading.
(All About Vision, 2021)
If a child complains of headaches, it could be a sign that the child is overexerting the eyes to clear their blurry vision.
What to Do if Your Child Has a Vision Problem
If you suspect the child has a vision problem, the first thing to do is schedule an appointment with an optometrist. An optometrist will conduct a basic eye exam to determine and diagnose the issue. They would recommend it if your child needs glasses or they would need to look for another solution.
For most childhood problems, glasses should be able to correct the issue. For some less common problems, the optometrist may recommend eye drops or corrective surgery. The optometrist, along with the parents, can come up with the best solution for the child.
Preparing Your Child
Before you visit the eye doctor, tell your child about the process, so they don’t feel scared. You can explain to your child that the eye doctor will help them see better. Tell your child that you will be there during the entire process, so they’re not worried and feel less anxious.
If your child needs glasses, involve your child in the process and allow them to pick out their glasses. Today children’s glasses are fashionable, durable and they’re available in a range of colors.
Sometimes a child may need to wear glasses only for a brief period, while others may need to wear them forever. If your child has just started wearing glasses or is already wearing them, it’s essential to get an eye exam done every year.
Optimal vision is an essential factor that affects a child’s performance at school and outside of school. Parents and teachers must look out for and recognize the signs of a vision problem to understand when a child needs glasses.
Collins, Megan Elizabeth. “How to Know If Your Child Needs Glasses.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/how-to-know-if-your-child-needs-glasses.
Bedinghaus, Troy. “Signs Your Child Might Need Glasses.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 16 Apr. 2021, www.verywellhealth.com/top-signs-your-child-needs-vision-correction-3421600.
All About Vision. “4 Signs of Vision Problems to Watch for in School-Age Children.” All About Vision, All About Vision, 27 Jan. 2021, www.allaboutvision.com/parents/does-child-need-glasses/.