What many parents do not realize is that undetected eyecare problems impacts your child life hugely; it starts from his underperformance in class to his daily after school activities.
It is not easy for children to communicate effectively to their parents, sometimes it takes years for parents to realize that their kids need eyeglasses.
If your child sits too close to the TV or needs to sit at the front of the classroom to understand what goes on in class, he or she might suffer from nearsightedness. The opposite is also a problem—some children need to sit far away, revealing an issue with farsightedness.
While only a thorough eye exam by an optometrist can diagnose if your child needs eyeglasses, there are some signs that might be pointing to your child’s need to wear prescription eyeglasses:
As squinting reduces the size of the object your child looks at, it compensate his inability to see clearly, it is considered the top indicator that your child might be suffering from close-up (farsightedness) or far away (nearsightedness).
Covering one eye:
In the case that you see your child closing one eye whenever he is trying to focus on something like reading; astigmatism can be the cause.
Excessive eye rubbing:
This happens due to eyestrain from your child’s trials to see better. Checking with a doctor is a must in that case as they might also suffer from dry eyes or allergic conjunctivitis.
As it is common for children and teenagers to frequently bump into objects, it can also be reflected to eyesight problems.
Optimal vision is essential to the learning process. Many people do not realize how many problems poor vision can cause for school-aged children. Therefore, it is important to be aware of your child’s overall eye health and what you can do to safeguard it.
Tilting the Head:
Your child may see double when looking in a certain direction. This tilting is the result of strabismus, an imbalance in the eye muscles.
If your child’s eyes water frequently, there might be a medical explanation. Lag ophthalmus is a condition in which eyelids do not close completely during sleep, so the eyes dry out and tear excessively the next day.
Losing Place While Reading:
It is a great idea to have your child periodically read aloud to you. Listening to your child read can reveal potential vision problems. Does your child have a hard time keeping his place while reading? Skipping lines or losing your place while reading can be a sign of astigmatism. Sometimes an eye muscle problem such as strabismus is to blame.
Finger Pointing While Reading:
If you have your child read aloud to you, watch to see if she uses her finger to keep her place. Finger-pointing while reading is not always a bad sign. It is often seen in a child learning to read independently. However, it can be a sign of an uncorrected vision problem, such as amblyopia. Amblyopic eyes exhibit a "crowding" phenomenon. When letters or words appear very close to other letters or words, it makes them difficult to recognize.
Children with exotropia, a type of strabismus, occasionally squint one eye when exposed to bright sunlight. This may be interpreted as light sensitivity. Light sensitivity, or photophobia, is simply an intolerance of light. Many different types of light can cause discomfort including sunlight, fluorescent light, and incandescent light. Your light-sensitive child may complain of frequent headaches.
Uncorrected farsighted children often have frontal headaches or brow aches. This is a result of the child attempting to compensate by exerting extra effort to clear their blurry vision.
Remember—most children demonstrate at least one of these behaviors as they grow older. It is only if one or more of these symptoms interferes with your child’s daily life that there is a good chance that the cause is poor eyesight.
WHAT TO DO IF THERE’S A PROBLEM:
The first thing you should do if you suspect that your child has an eyesight issue is schedule an appointment with your local optometrist. Your optometrist will be able to diagnose the issue and recommend the proper solution.
For most childhood eyesight problems, glasses correct the issue. Children’s glasses are durable, fashionable, and best of all, resolve the problem. A child with a standard eyesight issue and corrective glasses will see better, suffer from fewer headaches, bumps, and bruises, and even perform better in school.
For less common eyesight issues, your optometrist may recommend a different solution, like eye drops or corrective surgery. Together, you and your child’s optometrist can create a treatment strategy that is best for your child.
If you need to take your child to visit the eye doctor, help him or her to feel excited and alleviate any fears. Explain that the eye doctor will help them see better and that nothing scary will happen. You can be with your child throughout the entire procedure, so you will be right there if your child feels worried or anxious.
Choosing the correct fit of glasses:
Children’s glasses can often get broken or damaged. Expensive frames are not necessarily better. Try not to choose a frame that is too shallow as this will allow your child to look over their glasses. Also ensure that the arms of the glasses loop behind the ears, this will help in ‘anchoring’ the glasses in place and prevent them from sliding down your child’s nose.
It is important that the frames are always well maintained; they fit comfortably and are positioned correctly so that your child is looking through the center of the lenses. Glasses for infants have special adaptations available such as curly earpieces, special nose pads and head bands to help achieve a comfortable fit.
Will my child become reliant on the glasses?
Many parents fear that wearing glasses will make their child reliant on them. This is not true. Your child is getting used to having good vision with glasses and is becoming intolerant of the poor vision they have without their glasses. For this reason, your child will want to wear their glasses. Your child’s glasses may appear strong to you, but they have been made specifically for your child’s eyes.
What are the risks if my child does not wear the glasses?
A child’s eyesight is in its critical developmental phase up to an approximate age of eight years. If your child does not wear their glasses, there is a risk that their eyesight will not develop normally; this may mean they never develop the ability to see well. A significant need for glasses may cause eye strain and headaches after near work; it may cause poor attention and limit a child’s progress at school.