Kids are tough. Anyone who has watched them pick themselves up after a bone-rattling fall and just keep on playing will know it. But there are times when issues we may only have expected them to develop later on rear their heads.
A need to wear glasses could be among them. If you’re dreading the thought of your child going into total rebellion over them, think again. Kids’ glasses these days are a far cry from the limited choices available a couple of decades ago. Your son or daughter will be perfectly happy about wearing glasses if necessary. So with that potential drama off your list of worries, look out for these signs that you should move routine eye exams forward on your list of priorities.
1. Schoolwork is Suffering
Kids may have trouble identifying and articulating their own vision problems. At school, they must be able to see far away objects as well as what’s on their desks in front of them. Problems with either will lead to difficulties with schoolwork. So, if your otherwise diligent child seems to be developing “concentration problems” they could simply be a matter of not being able to see properly.
Don’t be led astray by “I hate school” tantrums. If your child is unable to do schoolwork effectively, it’s to be expected that he or she will feel frustrated and start disliking time spent in the classroom.
2. Sitting too Close to the TV or “Diving Into” Books
When children get so close to the written page that they seem to be reading with their noses or are inclined to sit as close to the TV as possible, they may have vision problems. When one is near-sighted, one gets up close in order to get a clear view of what’s going on. Sitting further away or holding books at what most people would consider a comfortable distance isn’t on the cards if there’s a need for glasses to address myopia.
3. Your Child Has Frequent Headaches or Complains of Sore Eyes
When one can’t see properly, the next thing one does is to try very hard to do just that. Unfortunately, that means eye strain, and although children might complain of sore eyes, they’re more likely to get frequent headaches. Whatever the expression of eye strain, the symptoms are most likely to manifest at the end of the day. By morning, the eyes have had time to rest, so the pain will be gone – only to recur later on. As a rough test of whether those headaches are related to poor eyesight, it’s easy enough to make your own home-made eye chart. If your child seems to see well enough, a visit to the doctor might be in order.
4. Clumsiness and Poor Eye-Hand-Coordination
If your child seems to be unusually clumsy and bad at games requiring eye-hand-coordination, the problem could be the eyes rather than poor coordination. After all, if you can’t see properly, you not only struggle to identify approaching objects, you’re also not able to judge speeds and distances.
Of course, kids are sometimes just plain clumsy until they’ve learned better coordination. But if your child seems to be behind his or her peers in sport no matter how much encouragement you give and seems to be perpetually unobservant, an eye test could uncover the real reason behind it.
5. Squinting, Tilting the Head to See More Clearly, or Covering one Eye to Focus on Objects
These are probably the most obvious signs that your child has vision problems. You can just see the amount of effort that’s going into his or her efforts to see properly. Fortunately, not all the conditions responsible for this type of vision problem need corrective glasses.
“Lazy eye” which may be responsible for head tilting and eye covering could even mean wearing an eyepatch for a few weeks so that the underused eye is no longer suppressed. Your kid is going to love that! What kid doesn’t love the idea of being a pirate? At the same time, your intervention could even mean you’re saving an eye from blindness.
When Should a Child’s Eyes be Tested
Doctors and paediatricians do several checks on a baby’s eyes during routine examinations. These will happen as a matter of routine, so your first intervention will be to take your little one for an eye test before starting school. Doctors or optometrists will be able to say when follow-ups should occur, but if you notice any of the tell-tale signs of vision problems, make an appointment sooner rather than later. Vision problems can impact every area of your child’s life, so getting them checked out as early as possible is the right thing to do.