It should come as no surprise that vision problems in children need to be acted on quickly. Poor vision can not only affect a child’s learning ability- it interferes with their play, causes trouble at team sports, and can even have an impact on their personality. In some cases, disruptive behavior can be linked to vision problems.
The trouble is, kids often don’t even realise that their vision is not what it should be. Regular check-ups can help diagnose any problems, but parents should also take note if your child shows any of these signs:
- Constantly sitting close to the TV or holding books close to the face
- Squinting/ tilting the head/ closing one eye to see TV or book more clearly
- Often rubbing eyes, when not tired
- Eyes are teary/watery/sensitive to light
- Their vision seems significantly poorer at night
- Regularly trips or knocks things over, seems particularly clumsy
- Becomes tired after close-up activities, like reading or using handheld device
- Complains of headaches or tired eyes
- Can’t distinguish certain colours, eg red from green
- School grades are lower than usual
There are signs to look out for in smaller kids or babies too:
- Eyes flicker quickly from side to side
- Eyes don’t follow a moving object
- Eyes don’t react to a light being turned on
- Eyes don’t line up- turn outwards, or in towards nose
- Yellowish, white or cloudy appearance to the pupils (which should look black)
It’s important to note, that while eye checks may be offered at school, they are not nearly as thorough as full eye examination by an optometrist.
All children should have their eyes tested by 6 months old, then again at 3 years, and before starting school. Kids with no diagnosed vision problems should still have eye exams every two years, while those who need glasses or contacts should have a yearly examination and checkup.