Signs of vision problems in children can go undetected. Children, since they don’t have a comparison, will not always be able to tell that something is wrong with their vision. They’ll think the color or degree of clarity is normal. And since, from the child’s perspective, they don’t know anything is wrong, the vision problem might manifest itself in a different way such as a struggle with or avoidance of reading.
Let’s look at ways to detect and recognize if your child is having vision problems. And then, whether you’ve noticed any of these signs or not, taking your children to get a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor will give you peace of mind that their eyes are healthy.
Possible signs your child has a vision problem
Squinting – If your child is squinting a lot, it could be a sign of trying to focus.
Rubbing eyes frequently – This is normal behavior from a tired child, but it could be a sign of eye strain, eye fatigue or other vision problems. Notice what kind of activity your child is doing when the sign is displayed. This will help determine if they are struggling or just tired.
Covering or closing one eye – Your child might do this in an attempt to focus and could be a sign of misaligned eyes.
Tilting head – Tilting of the head is another way your child might try to fix misaligned eyes or the angle of vision. Both signs, covering one eye or tilting the head, could also be a sign of amblyopia, a vision condition also called lazy eye. It’s one of the most common vision problems in children.
Sitting close to the TV/ holding books or electronic devices close to the face – This could be a sign of nearsightedness, or myopia. Again your child could be trying to correct blurry vision. Also, just like adults, children can experience digital eye strain.
Tripping or bumping into things – If your child is walking into objects that you and the rest of the family aren’t, this could be an indicator of a vision problem. Sometimes a child with poor vision can be overlooked as just clumsy.
Avoiding reading – What may appear to be disinterest, could be a reaction to poor vision. When reading together, if your child has a difficult time following along with you, or loses their place while reading, this could be a sign. If there is a lack of concentration or avoidance of schoolwork all together, this could be a reaction to a vision problem.
Signs could be more obvious – your child might have headaches or tell you their eyes hurt. This would especially make sense if conveyed at the end of the day, after eyes are strained all day to focus and correct blurry vision. A comprehensive eye exam for children is so important because, as the American Optometric Association states, early detection and treatment “provide the very best opportunity to correct vision problems.”