9 Warning Signs Your Child Is Having Vision Problems
Healthy vision is crucial to a child’s education and overall development. Unfortunately, determining if your child is having vision problems isn’t always easy. After all, the most common vision test that our society employs requires individuals to read and recite letters from a certain distance, or through an eye exam device. If your child hasn’t learned the alphabet yet or is not honest about what he or she can see, this test obviously isn’t a workable option. The good news is that there are other tells that might indicate a vision problem. Here are nine warning signs to watch for you in your young child:
- Constant rubbing of the eyes: This warning sign is easy to overlook because kids tend to rub their eyes frequently regardless of vision. A child might rub their eyes because they are tired, or because they are upset, or because they have an itch. However, eye rubbing can also be a sign that your child is having trouble seeing clearly. Watch for eye rubbing in moments when your child is trying to concentrate on something, or when he or she is playing.
- Sitting too close to the TV or holding books too close: Does your child tend to sit close to the TV when watching cartoons, or hold a book very close to his or her face to look at pictures? These behaviors might indicate that your child is having trouble seeing far away objects. Your child may be nearsighted.
- High sensitivity to light: Does your child get squinty or teary-eyed in the sunlight or other high-light environments? Alternatively, does your child struggle with camera flashes? Kids that are especially sensitive to light may have undiagnosed vision problems.
- Poor visual tracking: Being able to follow an object in motion—such as a ball flying through the air—is a key part of a child’s vision development. If your child has trouble with visual tracking, that could be a sign of vision impairment. Observing your child while he or she plays and watching for hand-eye coordination problems is a good way to watch for this type of problem.
- Unusual head turn: If a child has trouble seeing with one eye, they may always turn their head so that what they are focusing on is aligned with their better eye. Alternatively, if a child has trouble seeing with both eyes, they may raise or lower their head in order to focus on something. These are important signs your child may be having vision problems.
- Eyes have different colors: In certain eye conditions, one or both pupils of the eye can appear to be a different color than the normal black pupil. This may be a sign of a serious eye condition. If one or both pupils appear to be white or reflect light differently in a photo, it is important to get a full child’s eye exam to rule out any issues.
- Avoidance of vision-based activities: Does your child not like playing on the computer or iPad because it hurts his or her eyes? Does your child avoid vision-based activities such as coloring or playing with puzzles? These types of avoidance indicate that your child is uncomfortable with the activities in question, which might relate to an underlying vision issue.
- Chronic redness of the eyes: If your child has chronically red eyes, or regularly complains of his or her eyes being itchy or in pain, make an appointment to see an optometrist. Such chronic symptoms are not normal.
- Difficulty in school: Once your child is school-aged, it will become even easier to spot vision problems. They may struggle to read without losing their place on the page, or might have lower-than-expected grades due to difficulty seeing the blackboard. If you have suspicions that your child may be having vision issues, ask the teacher to tell you what they have observed in the classroom.
If you notice any of these warning signs, bringing your child to see a pediatric optometrist (in Miami) for a checkup and consultation is the best practice. Even if your child doesn’t manifest any of these symptoms, it’s still a good idea to schedule regular optometry appointments. The American Optometric Association (AOA) encourages eye exams for infants as early as six months of age, and then semi-regularly throughout childhood. These routine exams can help you identify any eye problems before they impact your child’s development or education.
Do you have any questions about your child’s vision? Get answers by scheduling an appointment at Miami Contact Lens Institute today.