According to the America Optometric Association, one in four children has an undetected vision problem. Young children with eye issues are often unaware that their vision is deficient, so it is up to parents to detect signs of poor eyesight.
August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month – a good time for parents to learn about vision health and schedule eye exams for their kids. Here are some of the most common signs that your child may have a vision problem:
- Squinting — Pay attention to when and how often your child squints. Children who are nearsighted may squint to see objects that are far away. And squinting while reading or playing could indicate astigmatism or hyperopia, also known as farsightedness.
- Tilting the head — Children may tilt their heads to try looking at an object from a different angle or focal point. This can be a sign of eye alignment issues.
- Showing sensitivity to light — Light sensitivity could indicate several different eye problems such as inflammatory issues or glaucoma.
- Rubbing the eyes — Children who rub their eyes frequently may be experiencing eye discomfort or sensitivity to light.
- Sitting too close to the TV or computer screen — Sitting close to a screen does not always indicate a vision problem, but if you notice your child squints when sitting further away, it is time to get an eye exam.
- Losing their place while reading — Poor vision makes it challenging for children to track their place on a page.
- Having a short attention span — Children who struggle to see may not be as engaged at school or home because they can’t fully participate. You may find it helpful to get input from a classroom teacher about whether your child is “zoning out” or seems distracted.
- Having an eye that turns in or out — This condition is called strabismus, commonly known as “lazy eye.” If you notice that your child’s eyes are not in alignment, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Strabismus and amblyopia (poor vision in the misaligned eye) are common conditions in childhood, but they can be treated successfully when detected early.
- Covering one eye — This may indicate that one eye is stronger than the other or that the two eyes are not working together.
- Complaining of headaches — Eye strain and squinting can result in headaches. If your child complains of headaches, you may not immediately associate it with vision problems, but watch for other symptoms and consider that it may be related to vision.
Eighty percent of school instruction is visual, so it’s essential for your child to be able to see effectively. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child today.