It may be more common to see adults wearing glasses than children, but that doesn’t mean children are immune to vision problems. Kids can develop similar refraction error issues, such as being near-sighted or far-sighted.
Children can also develop other vision problems that may require treatment. However, they may not always recognize — or have the vocabulary to tell you — that they aren’t seeing well.
This is where you come in as the attentive parent, watching for cues that something might be wrong. Dr. Randa Garrana at Advanced Lasik offers these tips for identifying warning signs that your child might have vision problems.
Some signs of vision problems are obvious
You may readily notice if your child has an obvious problem with their vision. Signs include holding a book up very close to their face, sitting close to the television, or squinting when trying to focus on something specific. They may also complain they can’t see clearly if they have blurry vision.
Other vision clues to watch for
Even if your child doesn’t have any of the obvious symptoms listed above, they may still have other problems with their vision. Warning signs you should look for include:
Frequently losing their place while reading
Occasionally losing your place while reading doesn’t always mean you have vision problems. However, if this happens to your child on a frequent basis, it could indicate that they aren’t able to see the letters well. This may also be a sign of having a lazy eye (amblyopia).
Tilting or turning their head
Children with undiagnosed vision problems may turn or tilt their heads to position their eyes in such a way to allow them to compensate for poor vision. They also may keep their chin up or down in an effort to see better.
These behaviors can indicate several possible types of vision impairment, including uncontrolled eye movements (nystagmus), eye misalignment (strabismus), refractive errors, astigmatism, or different clarity of vision in each eye.
Avoiding activities that require close vision
Your child may avoid certain activities that require them to see up close, such as:
- Reading a book
- Drawing or coloring
- Playing board games
Although kids may have their own unique special interests, if you consistently notice that they’re avoiding certain vision-intensive activities, it’s a good idea to schedule an eye exam for them.
Having a short attention span
Although many children have shorter attention spans than adults, you can usually tell if your child’s attention span is much shorter than average (such as if they can’t finish playing an age-appropriate game). While your first guess about the cause of their short attention span may be something like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it could also be a sign of an untreated vision problem.
The solution? Schedule an eye exam
If your child shows any of the above signs, schedule a comprehensive eye exam for them. First, your child receives a general vision test, which determines if they need vision correction for conditions such as near-sightedness or far-sightedness.
Dr. Garrana also checks to see if your child has other vision issues, such as amblyopia, strabismus, or a difference in clarity between each eye. Many such issues are more treatable when they’re caught early, so there’s no reason to wait.
If you think your child needs an eye exam, we’re here to help. Call or click online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Garrana at your nearest Advanced Lasik office today: We have one East Coast location in Manhattan, New York, and two West Coast locations in Long Beach and Pasadena, California.