As adults, we know very well when we need to go see an eye doctor. We might get blurred vision, see spots, or our eyesight might get distorted at times. This is usually our queue for calling in that appointment.
It’s not as easy to determine if a child is having problems seeing. This will help detect any early signs of trouble and will help remedy any issues faster.
Still, kids will not generally be able to tell you whether their vision is ok or not. Thus, you’ll need to pay close attention to the telltale signs and act accordingly. As mentioned, early childhood vision problems are rare. But, if they do occur, noticing them sooner rather than later will allow you to help your child before they develop any serious issues.
When Are Kids Eyes Checked?
When it comes to babies and kids that haven’t learned to speak yet, it is more difficult to notice if they’re having any problems with their vision. Taking them in for a checkup once a year is a good idea even if you just do it as a preventive measure.
Your child will get their first eye examination within 72 hours of their birth. The next eye exam will be in the next 6 to 8 weeks, and the next one after that at around 1 or 2 years of age.
A checkup called vision screening happens around the age of 4 and is usually carried out at school. In cases where this option is not available, it’s a good idea to take your kid to your eye doctor or local optometrist.
Signs that Your Kid Might Need Their Eyes Checked
If you notice one or multiple signs of vision impairment persisting in your child, the best solution is to get some answers. It could just be a sign that they need to wear glasses.
1. Their Eyes Are Squinting
Squinting is something we all do, whether we realize it or not. When you’re watching TV, looking at smaller print, or looking at something in the distance, the first impulse is always squinting. This is because the eyes are trying to refocus when you change your point of focus.
So, this is an involuntary reflex that every human being is born with. But, when we do it more and more often then this could be a sign that our eyes are struggling to focus.
2. Eye Pain
Kids that are able to speak might tell you their eyes are hurting. Ask them for more details about the pain they are perceiving. They could be able to better describe the pain, where it’s coming from, and how often they get it.
If this issue persists, an eye checkup might be needed. A quick call to your eye doctor will answer most questions you might have. They’ll be able to tell you if an appointment is needed.
3. Complaining of Headaches
Before running to the doctor’s make sure your kid didn’t just hit their head. Ask those around if they’d seen him falling or hitting his head. Regular headaches could be a sign there’s a problem with his or her eyesight.
4. Reading Issues
For reading age kids you’ll likely notice that they’re not reading as good as they used to. If they’re also holding the book close up to their face, then a visit to the eye doctor is your best bet.
Depending on your kid’s motor skills a change in their physical aptitudes, for a prolonged period of time, could be a sign of eye trouble. Observe them for a bit and check to see how often this is happening during the span of a day. If the issue gets worse visit your optometrist for a second opinion.
6. Too much screen time
The technological era has bewitched everyone and their grandma. It’s not uncommon to be looking at screens for most of the day. And, as much as we might adapt with each generation, too much blue light is proven to have harmful effects on our eyes and our brains.
Kids are particularly susceptible to these negative effects. Before the age of 3, too much screen time might not be a good idea. Studies show that a kid’s eyesight doesn’t fully develop until after the age of 3. So, watching too much stuff on TV or a tablet could have either or both negative and positive implications.
7. Eye Rubbing
Kids are known to rub their eyes when they’re sleepy, they’re crying, or as most of us, are scratching an itch. If too much of this occurs there might be a problem with their vision. If they’re talking, of course, you can ask them about it. Otherwise, a swift optometrist visit will suffice.
One single symptom might not be enough to call the troops in. But the frequency and seriousness of the issue are also important. The more often any of the above signs happen, the more serious could be the cause.