It’s likely that your child’s school may perform a vision screening, but in these basic checks, vision problems often go undetected. It’s important to bring your child in for a proper full eye exam by an eye doctor though if you see any of these 9 signs, it’s highly likely your kid will need glasses.
1. They squint at things near or far
If your child scrunches up their face and eyes to see something either close up or far away, it’s a sign they’re trying to see something more clearly. Squinting can help vision by changing the eye shape and reducing the amount of light entering the eye for better focus. While squinting on occasion in the brightness of sun on a summer day shouldn’t be a cause for concern, if your child is always squinting, you should certainly take them for that eye exam.
2. They do the head tilt
We often think a head tilt is cute on kids and animals too. Only with kids, that head tilt may be due to eye misalignments. Look for your child tilting their head at objects as it could be a sign of eye muscle imbalance, double vision, lazy eye, or a droopy upper eyelid getting in the way.
3. They lose their place when reading
A simple way to keep an eye on your child’s eyesight is to ask them to read aloud. Not only does it strengthen reading skills but it also helps you see if they keep their place while reading. If your child skips lines or loses their place frequently, it may be an astigmatism or an eye muscle problem that can easily be helped with prescription glasses.
Additionally, if your child uses their finger to follow along when they’re reading, it could be something to watch too. For little ones just learning to read, it is less of a concern. However, if your child is already reading confidently and still follows with their finger, they could be having trouble seeing as the letters and words will appear too close and make it hard for them to recognize.
4. Your child sits to close to the TV or computer screens
When your child sits too close to a screen of any kind – be it the TV, a tablet, or even the computer – it could be nearsightedness. With nearsightedness, your child will usually have clear vision up close yet things become fuzzier at a distance. Keeping the eyes closer to an object such as a screen brings it into focus. Your kid shouldn’t ever be sitting so close to something, especially anything that emits blue light. If you’re noticing this sign, you should take your child for an eye exam as soon as possible because letting it go uncorrected can make their eyesight worse.
5. They cover an eye to read or look at something
If your child covers one of their eyes to read, that’s a sign you should never ignore. They are essentially shutting the eye that has poorer vision off from things so they can see more clearly. It’s not a good way to go through life and can increase their risk for amblyopia, or lazy eye. It can also reveal double vision, and in any case, will require corrective lenses to help them have an unobstructed look at the world.
6. Your child’s eyes tear up often
Astoundingly, your child may not be turning on the waterworks to garner your sympathy. They might not be able to help it if they have lagophthalmos. This condition causes eyes to dry out during the night when the eyelids don’t close completely during the sleep cycle. To correct the problem, their eyes will excessively tear during their wakeful daylight hours and cause trouble with vision.
7. They’re always rubbing their eyes
While small children will often rub their eyes as bedtime approaches or when allergies irritate them, eye rubbing could be a sign of eye troubles. Namely, eye fatigue can signal vision problems that cause your child to rub their eyes even when they’re not sleepy or affected by allergies. If your child is rubbing their eyes while reading, watching TV, or otherwise trying to focus on something, it’s best to have an eye doctor take a look to rule out.
8. Your child is sensitive to light
It’s common for everyone to experience some light sensitivity when they step out from a dark interior into the unwavering brightness of the sun. However, if your child has exotropia, they may squint with one eye when they head outside. If this is a common occurrence, especially if it comes with frequent headaches, an eye exam may reveal the need for classes.
9. Your child gets headaches all the time
When children are farsighted, it is extremely common for them to complain about headaches. Usually, these headaches will be in the brow or frontal area. It’s caused by their constant attempts to strain their eyes to clear blurriness away for the sake of sight. Should your child exhibit one or more of these signs, it is important to take them for a full eye exam. This will go beyond the simple quick checks done at school. You’ll have peace of mind plus your child will get the vision correction they need through glasses. Then they won’t have headaches, struggle in class or activities, or feel like something is wrong with them, and can finally see things as they should.