As a parent, you want to do all you can to help your child have a happy, healthy life. That includes keeping their eyes healthy and their vision clear. The problem: Kids don’t always tell you when they’re having vision issues — and some children may not even recognize problems themselves.
In fact, data show that about a quarter of school-age children have some type of vision problem. Unfortunately, many of those kids don’t receive treatment, with consequences that affect their school performance, their ability to make friends, their behavior, and even their adult life as well.
A leader in pediatric ophthalmology, ABC Children's Eye Specialists offers comprehensive vision and eye care for kids in Mesa and Phoenix, Arizona — and that includes helping parents learn to recognize potential symptoms of an eye problem.
Take a moment as our team reviews some fairly common symptoms associated with vision problems, so you can have your child’s eyes evaluated as soon as possible.
If you have a refractive vision issue (like nearsightedness or farsightedness), you might notice that if you squint, you can see a bit more clearly. The same is true for kids. If your child squints when reading or watching TV, there’s a good chance they’re dealing with a vision issue, even though they may not realize it.
Headaches are a common symptom of eye problems, yet they’re often assumed to be caused by something else, like not getting enough sleep. Headaches are often associated with eyestrain, a problem that can happen if your child needs to spend extra effort trying to focus on schoolwork or other close-up activities.
Lots of issues can cause itchy eyes, including allergies and colds. But itching can also be a symptom of an eye infection, including pink eye, a highly contagious eye problem that’s especially common among kids.
Other infections can cause itching too, sometimes accompanied by blurry vision, excess tearing, and other symptoms.
Eye rubbing is another symptom associated with eyestrain, and it can also be a symptom of other issues. Allergies, infections, and eye pain can all trigger rubbing, too.
An occasional rub is nothing to worry about, but if your child rubs their eyes regularly or if rubbing is accompanied by other symptoms, like tearing or redness, it’s time for a visit.
The remaining items on this list aren’t really eye or vision changes, but they’re relatively common symptoms of childhood eye problems, so they’re worth paying attention to.
Sitting really close to the TV or computer
If your child sits very close to the TV or leans in close to their computer screen, it could be because without leaning in, their vision is too blurry to see letters or images clearly. The same is true if your child holds a book very close to their face when reading or leans close to their homework when writing.
Problems at school
There are lots of reasons why a child might have issues with schoolwork, but many times, eye problems are among the last issues considered.
Yet, if your child isn’t able to see the blackboard or whiteboard at the front of the classroom, or if a vision problem makes it hard to read a school book or a test paper, it’s not surprising that this can quickly lead to poor grades and poor performance.
Likewise, when your child has a vision problem, trying to follow directions and stay on task in school can be difficult — and that can lead to frustrations.
As with schoolwork problems, if your child is showing behavior issues during school or other activities, an eye exam can quickly identify vision issues or rule them out as a possible cause.
Protect your child’s eyes
If your child has blatant vision changes, like blurry vision or double vision, it’s easy to tell that it’s time for a vision evaluation. The same is true if your child develops a “crossed eye” or if one eye drifts off to the side or the center. But other symptoms aren’t always so obvious.
Pediatric eye exams can help identify problems early, often before those problems take a toll on your child’s school or social habits.
To schedule an exam for your child or to learn more about childhood vision issues, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists today.