No parent wants to see their child struggle with vision problems, but it's unfortunately a common issue among children of all ages. A few separate instances of blurry vision or headaches might not seem like enough to call your doctor, but if you start noticing any of these signs, you should get your kid's eyes checked as soon as possible.
In fact, according to a 2014 study by the American Optometry Association, up to 25 percent of school aged kids have vision problems and don't even realize it. Luckily, most of these symptoms are easily resolved with a pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses. Although contacts can be a big responsibility for a child (and the FDA doesn't usually recommend them for kids under 12,) and there is always the chance of the glasses being lost or broken, it's a chance that's worth taking when it comes to your child's eyesight.
Some children may be reluctant to get glasses out of fear of how their friends will view them (personally, I always wished I could have glasses, though I never needed them). But, in some cases, a child's health depends upon correcting their vision. No matter if your child exhibits one or all nine of these signs, a trip to the ophthalmologist should be in your near future.
1. They Squint To See Better
Squinting is one of the first and most obvious signs parents notice. According to Kid's Health, it may be a sign that your child needs a simple prescription, or it could be a sign of a more serious eye issue like Amblyopia (lazy eye) or cataracts.
2. They're Mistaken As Clumsy
If running into things or tripping is a daily occurrence, passing it off as clumsiness might not be the best route. Although it may indeed be a balance disorder, American Family Physicians noted that clumsiness can be related to their eyes as well.
3. They Need Their Activities Close To Their Face
Be it a coloring book, a TV show, or a game on the iPad, according to All About Vision, items in close proximity to your child's eyes is a "warning sign" that something more serious may be going on.
4. They Need Their Finger For Reading Or Frequently Lose Their Place
If your child is just learning to read, it's normal for them to use their finger to keep their place. However, if the issue persists and they can't read without a "place holder," getting their eyes checked is a good call.
5. They Complain Of Headaches
According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, headaches are common in children and aren't usually serious. However, they can be indicative of hyperopia or farsightedness.
6. They Tilt Their Head To One Side
In older children, tilting their head to one side can be indicative of eye misalignment, according to AAPOS.
7. They Rub Their Eyes Repeatedly
Excessive eye rubbing — and not just when they're tired — is a red flag that something is up with your child's vision, according to Baby Center.
8. They're Sensitive To Light
If your child is overly sensitive to indoor light, the sun, camera flashes, or the TV, your doctor will most likely check them for symptoms of photophobia.
9. They Complain Of Blurry Vision
Similarly, teary eyes or blurry vision, whether they're outside or not, is another sure sign that something is off.