Kids don’t always let you know they’re having vision problems. They might not even know it themselves. So if you notice any of these 8 symptoms (whether your child already has glasses or not), it’s important to schedule an eye exam ASAP.
Squinting creates temporary visual focus and clarity. This can indicate a refractive error, like astigmatism (blurry vision), hyperopia (farsightedness) or myopia (nearsightedness).
2. Frequent Headaches
If your child complains of headaches on school days or after long periods of reading, this may be from eye fatigue as he strains his eyes to focus. Usually a symptom of astigmatism and farsightedness, frequent headaches may be accompanied by eye pain and disappear when the child is not reading.
3. Excessive Eye Rubbing
When a child is trying to clear her blurry vision, she may frequently rub her eyes. It can also indicate eye fatigue or allergic conjunctivitis.
Amblyopia, more commonly known as “lazy eye,” is when the eyes and brain fail to work together correctly, leading to good vision in one eye and poor vision in the other. This imbalance in vision may lead to severe clumsiness.
5. Tilting Head or Covering One Eye
Blame amblyopia if your child is tilting her head or covering one eye to adjust her vision. When the eyes are misaligned, children overcompensate, using their “stronger” eye over their lazy one.
6. Sitting Too Close to Screens
Nearsighted kids find relief (and clarity) by bringing a blurry object closer to their faces. Sitting too close to the TV or bringing a tablet or phone right up to their noses may indicate nearsightedness.
7. Losing Place While Reading
If your child often loses his place while reading or uses his finger to guide his eyes, he may be struggling with double vision, difficulty focusing or improper eye movement.
8. Poor Academic Performance
At school, children need to quickly adapt their visual focus from near to far and back again— from chalkboards and computer screens to textbooks and tablets. If they are unable to adapt their focus well because of a vision deficiency, academic performance suffers. They may even try to compensate for this by asking to sit in the front of the room.
Even if your kids don’t display any of these signs, it’s important to have your pediatrician administer an eye exam during their annual physicals.