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10 Signs of Vision Problems in Children

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Optometrist checks out child's eye as her father accompanies her through out the exam.

Good vision is essential to a child’s success, both in and outside of school. During the early stages of development, it’s important to notice and address any potential vision problems, so that they don’t continue to inhibit your child’s growth educationally, socially, and everything in between. Recreational activities may also not be as fun for your child if they are struggling with their vision, read more below about some of the more common signs to watch out for.

Warning Signs of Vision Problems in Kids

  1. Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding books too close.
  2. Losing their place while reading, or using a finger to guide their eyes while reading.
  3. Squinting or tilting the head to see better.
  4. Frequent eye rubbing.
  5. Sensitivity to light and/or excessive tearing.
  6. Closing one eye to read, watch TV, or see better.
  7. Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as homework or reading, or activities that require distance vision, such as sports and other recreational activities.
  8. Complaining of headaches or tired eyes.
  9. Avoiding using a computer because it hurts their eyes.
  10. Short attention span.

A child may not be able to tell you that they are having trouble seeing because they believe that the way they see is the way that everyone sees. When certain visual skills have not developed, or have developed poorly, learning becomes difficult and stressful.

A little girl with red hair celebrating her first pair of glasses with her fist in the air from excitement.

Necessary Vision Skills 

  • Visual acuity (ability to see clearly in the distance, at an intermediate distance, and close up)
  • Eye focusing (ability to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision as the distance from objects change)
  • Eye-tracking (ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another)
  • Eye teaming (ability to coordinate and use both eyes together when focussing)
  • Eye-hand coordination (ability to use visual information to monitor and direct the hands)
  • Visual perception (ability to organize images on a printed page into letters, words, and ideas, and to understand and remember what was read)

If you notice that your child may be struggling with any of these crucial skills, either through your general observation, or conversations you’ve had with their teachers, instructors, or friends, then it may be time to take the next steps.

Spotting the warning signs is crucial in order to help children with vision problems. If left untreated, many of these problems may lead to a more negative impact on a child’s vision, and other eye conditions as they age, including impacting their ability to progress with learning and recreational activities. If you have any concerns, speak to your eye doctor during their next comprehensive eye exam to learn more about what can be done to help. 

Written by Dr. Gregory Hayes

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