It is very common for children to have vision problems from an early age. In the US, around 6.8% of children aged under 18 years suffer from common vision problems. If treated carefully at a young age, the problems do not worsen and the child can function normally with or without glasses.
However, if a severe eye condition is not diagnosed properly, it can lead to partial or even complete blindness. So how will you find out if your little one has an eye condition or not? Here are five signs that your child might need to visit an ophthalmologist soon.
If you see your child squinting at faraway objects or at the TV screen almost all the time, it can indicate a refractive error. This will affect the degree of how well your child’s eyes can focus on a particular image. By squinting, the focus becomes temporarily better.
2. Head tilts or covers the eye
In order to increase clarity, you might see your kid often covering one eye or tilting their heads to get a better angle. This can indicate that your child has misaligned eyes or amblyopia or lazy eyes. Lazy eye is one of the most common visual disorders in children.
3. Sitting too close to the television
Children often have a habit of pressing their noses right up against the TV screen, which is a very harmful habit. Sitting too close to the television or holding devices like the phone or tablet too close to their eyes are possible signs of myopia in children.
People who have myopia or near-sightedness can see objects nearby quite clearly but are unable to focus on objects placed farther away. So bringing the object closer to the face or vice versa helps to see it clearly. But this can damage the eyes as far as long-term vision problems are concerned.
4. Headaches or eye pain
Does your baby keep complaining about headaches or eye pain frequently? Do they keep rubbing their eyes every once in a while? While rubbing eyes can be a sign of eye infections like conjunctivitis, it can also mean a vision problem.
If the pain occurs at the end of the day, it may indicate that your child has been overexerting their eyes all day in order to have a clearer vision.
5. Difficulty concentrating on studies
It isn’t surprising to see children struggling with their school work, but when the struggle becomes excessive, you know something isn’t quite right.
At school, your child has to focus on objects both nearby and faraway quickly, starting from the chalkboards to their own copies. This constant shift from one object to another can cause strain in the eyes, especially if your baby has a vision disorder.
6. Vision screening test
The easiest way to figure out if your child has a vision disorder or not is to get a vision screening test done. This is usually done by a pediatrician or even at your child’s school.
If they fail the test, the best solution is to visit an ophthalmologist and get tested. These tests include the detection of strabismus (crossed eyes). Depth perception, condition of the inner and outer eye, and presence of serious eye ailments (if any). If the problem is a mild one, the doctor will give a pair of glasses to your child, fitted with the specific power in each lens.
There might be a number of reasons why your doctor prescribes glasses, including vision improvement in a normal as well as lazy eye, improving the positioning of the eyes, and providing protection. However, if the condition is serious, your child may need to be on medication or even get a surgery done.
Over to you…
A healthy pair of eyes is essential for anyone, but more in the case of children. If you feel your child might be suffering from any kind of eye problem, take them to the doctor immediately and get tests done.
Even if your child has glasses, you should take them to the ophthalmologist at least once a year to check the power and overall condition of the eyes.
An eye care provider will let you know what to do in case the condition worsens. If you take precautions early, your child can be saved from a number of serious vision problems.