How to Tell if Your Child Needs Glasses or Contacts

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When children have undetected vision problems, it can have a major impact on every aspect of their lives, both in and out of the classroom. Being able to recognize the signs of a possible vision problem is essential for parents and other caregivers. There are many reasons that a child might need eyeglasses, such as to improve blurry vision, to strengthen vision in a lazy or weak eye, to correct the position of crossed or misaligned eyes, and to provide protection when the child has poor vision in just one eye. If you notice that your child seems to be having trouble seeing normally, be sure to schedule an appointment with your local eye doctor who has experience treating children as soon as possible.

Signs Your Child Needs to See an Optometrist

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an eye exam in children as early as 6 months of age or sooner if any problems are noticed. After that, it is recommended for them to be examined at 3 years and then right before starting school.

A few of the warning signs that might indicate that your child is experiencing a vision problem include:

  • One of the most common symptoms of a vision problem in a child is squinting. This habit may indicate a refractive error, a vision disorder that affects the child’s ability to focus on an image. Squinting reduces the size of the opening of the eye, increasing the depth of focus and temporarily improving the clarity and focus of an object.
  • Sitting too close. A child who is having trouble seeing properly may naturally sit much closer to the TV or hold a book or their phone close to their eyes. Or, they may lower their head while reading to get a better view of the words on the page. All of these are signs of myopia, or nearsightedness, which means that the child has trouble seeing clearly at a distance.
  • Covering one eye or tilting the head. If you notice that your child covers one eye or tilts their head to one side to change the angle of the image they’re viewing, it could be a sign of a problem such as misaligned eyes or amblyopia, also known as a lazy eye. It’s one of the most common eye issues in children.
  • Excessive eye rubbing. In most cases, occasional eye rubbing is not a cause for concern. Children often rub their eyes when they feel sleepy. However, excessive eye rubbing can alert you to a possible problem such as eye strain or fatigue. It might also indicate irritation caused by allergic conjunctivitis or another condition.
  • Eye pain or headaches. If your child complains about headaches or eye pain, especially at the end of the day, and you aren’t sure why, scheduling an eye appointment is a good idea. Your child may be overexerting their eyes throughout the day as they try to improve their focus.
  • Trouble concentrating on schoolwork. Classroom learning activities often require children to shift their visual focus from near to far quickly and accurately to view a variety of objects such as textbooks, smartboards, and computers. A child who appears to be uninterested in or unfocused on schoolwork may have a vision problem that needs attention.

If Your Child Needs Glasses or Contacts

Regular vision screenings may be conducted by your child’s school or pediatrician. If they notify you that your child has failed a vision screening, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with an eye care professional as soon as possible. If your child already has glasses or contacts, it’s still essential to have their eyes checked every year (or as often as their eye care provider recommends). Optimal vision is key when it comes to learning as well as to the quality of life, so pay attention to your child’s eye health and contact Weston Contact Lens Institute for a checkup.