Children often have no idea if what they can see is normal. If they have had a problem from when they were really young they just take it as a given that what they can see is normal. That’s where you, as a parent or grandparent can help them.
Ideally, you should be bringing your child in for an eye examination at least once a year so that we can examine their eyes, make sure they are healthy and they can see properly. Here are some telltale signs that something isn’t quite right and you need to visit your local optician.
If you notice that your child’s eyes don’t look in the same direction you really need to get their eyes examined. If left untreated it can lead to poor visual acuity in their eyes. It’s easily treated when they are young but left untreated can lead to a lazy eye.
Tilting their head to the side
This is also a sign that their eyes can be misaligned. When a child constantly tilts their head to see they are actually changing the angle in which they look at things. Head tilting can also be associated with a condition where the eyelid droops and impairs their vision.
When a child squints they are actually trying to change the shape of the eyes and adjust the amount of light that comes into their eyes. Squinting is often a sign that a child needs their vision corrected with a pair of glasses.
Covering or closing one eye
Children who cover or close one eye are likely to have poor vision in one eye. This eye can be strengthened at a young age by patching the stronger eye, but again, left untreated can lead to a lazy eye.
Headaches can often be related to eye strain. If their vision is blurry their eyes have to work harder to see and this puts stress on them, leading to headaches.
It is quite normal for children to rub their eyes but if they rub them frequently it can be a sign of eye strain, in which case it’s likely they will need to wear glasses.
Sitting too close to the TV or holding a device too close
Myopia or short-sightedness has been in the news frequently over the last few years. Children don’t understand they can’t see so they naturally sit or hold the device to where they can. If left untreated, myopia can worsen over time.
Reading inaccurately or missing lines
Many of our patients come to us complaining that when they are reading books the text moves, they get tired reading or they get headaches, eye strain, or even migraines. We offer a visual stress screening for children that can determine whether you could benefit from a different coloured background when reading.
Does your child walk into doors and tables or tries to pick up something and misses? This could be an indication that they need vision correction or glasses.
Troubling focusing at school
What seems like ‘behavioural issues’ or a ‘short attention span’ at school could just be a vision issue. We have so many children come into our opticians with this issue and have discovered they just can’t see. It’s hard to focus on a task when you can’t see.
Listening to your children is important. We often hear children come in and tell us they have been telling their parents they can’t see but the parents don’t take them seriously. We understand that as parents it’s difficult to manage everything but your child’s vision is precious and it is better to sort out any vision problems when they are young as leaving it too long can often lead to poor vision and vision loss.