How to Tell if Your Child Needs Glasses
Grace Weatherby
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2024

How to Tell if Your Child Needs Glasses

Many signs of a child’s healthy development are obvious—like walking, talking, and growing. However, for some areas of development, like hearing and vision, the signs are not always noticeable. Given childhood is a critical time for developing healthy vision, it’s important to be alert for signs that something is amiss. This is especially true for children who may be at higher-than-average risk for vision problems.

Common risk factors that contribute to vision issues in children include:

• Prematurity, low birth weight, prolonged supplemental oxygen at birth.

• Family history of myopia, amblyopia, strabismus, retinoblastoma, congenital cataracts, metabolic or genetic disease.

• Infection of mother during pregnancy (e.g., rubella, toxoplasmosis, venereal disease, herpes, cytomegalovirus or human immunodeficiency virus).

• Maternal smoking, use of alcohol or illicit drug use during pregnancy.

Here is a look at some of the signs and behaviors that may suggest your child needs to see an eye doctor:

Loses their place while reading: While this may be hard to track when kids are young, as soon as they’re able to read, have them read out loud to you.

Squinting. Squinting is a common cheat to help a child’s eyes focus properly when they don’t do so on their own. 

Covering one eye or tilting of the head. Another common workaround, both covering one eye and head tilting may be signs of a lazy eye, a very common eye disorder in children. 

Sitting extremely close to or holding a screen close to their eyes. Positioning themselves so that screens are close to the face is a common sign of myopia, or nearsightedness.

Eye rubbing. Excessive eye rubbing may indicate that your child is experiencing eye fatigue or strain. It may also be a sign of other vision problems and conditions, including pink eye

Regular headaches or eye pain. Eye pain and headaches—especially at the end of the day—may indicate your child is overexerting the eyes throughout the day in an effort to increase focus of blurred vision.

If you notice any of these behaviors in your child, schedule them for an eye exam. The sooner you can correct their vision, the sooner they’ll be able to engage with the world and move closer to reaching their full potential.

 

Erik Niemi, DO, is an ophthalmology specialist at Advanced Eyecare in Bennington, VT.

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