Many parents are concerned about their children’s vision, and for good reason – around 25 percent of gradeschool-age children have vision problems, say some sources. Experts agree that regular eye exams should be a part of your child’s health regimen; but sometimes more is needed. Here are some signs to look for if you think your child has a vision problem.
Problems in School
You know your child is intelligent, but he or she seems to have trouble in school that just can’t seem to be explained. If the trouble centers around reading, especially, this may indicate a vision problem. Children with compromised eyesight tend to have a lot of trouble focusing their eyes on words on a page, or on the blackboard or overhead projector.
Everyone gets a headache now and then, regardless of age. It could indicate a number of things. But chronic headaches, especially those that cause pain across the brow or forehead, may be due to poor vision. Your child’s headaches may be accompanied by rubbing of the eyes or forehead, too.
Eyes that are always strained can make a child (or anyone else for that matter) feel very sleepy. Watch for sleepiness when your child tries to read, and ask your child’s teacher of he/she has observed your child acting sleepy during the school day.
Poor Performance at Sports
Have you ever tried to hit a baseball, catch a football, or play tennis with one eye closed or with blurred vision? If so, you know how hard it is for a child with undiagnosed vision problems! If your child seems coordinated enough but unable to master some of the basic skills involved in sports, it may be time for an eye test.
One Eye Out
Observe your child’s eyes and note if one eye wanders or drifts outward or inward. This is a tell-tale sign of a vision problem that needs the attention of a professional.
Does your child squint and seem to peer forward? This may be a sign of a vision problem. The squinting can also contribute to eye strain and headaches, since the muscles around the eyes and brow are tense and contracted so often.
Fails a Simple Home Eye Test
You can give your child a basic home eye test that, while not a substitute for a professional test, can give a good indication of whether or not your child has vision problems. You will need to hang a chart about 10 feet away (you can find examples of charts and symbols to use online, and some sites even have printables), and test your child’s eyes one at a time.