As many a parent can attest, deciphering a young person’s needs can be challenging if that child is not yet able to communicate fully. Diagnosing health problems can take a bit of trial and error. So it’s no wonder that many parents don’t know if their kids have vision problems.
Routine health exams by your child’s doctor can help determine if a child has problems with his or her vision. Doctors can discover subtleties that parents may not see, including signs that children have problems with their vision.
The American Optometric Association recommends vision exams at six months, three years of age, and before the start of first grade, and every two years thereafter until age 18. The first vision assessments usually take place in a pediatrician’s office. Parents can talk to their children’s pediatrician and ask if he or she can watch for signs of vision problems in their sons or daughters. Some pediatricians may recommend that children see an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
In addition to talking to their children’s pediatricians, parents can keep an eye out for the following warning signs children may display when they have vision impairment.
– Squinting, which can be a sign of compensation for poor vision.
– Sitting too close to the TV or holding a tablet screen close to the face.
– Cover or close one eye.
– Rubbing eyes for visual fatigue and not general fatigue.
– Draw toys or other objects closer.
– Tilting of the head, which may be a sign that vision is better in one eye than the other.
– Inability to make regular eye contact or track an object in a baby over three months old.
– Crossed or misaligned eyes after four months of age.
– Children who are easily distracted in learning situations or have difficulty paying attention may lose interest due to problems with their vision.
A proactive approach to eye health by parents when children are young can help correct problems early on and ensure that children can see and function successfully over the years. Early treatment can lead to big, long-lasting improvements in vision.