A Clearer View

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5 Warning Signs that Your Child May have Vision Problems

by Damion Wasylow 28 July 2021 11:09 AM

young girl squinting slightly

With the school year starting back up, now is the right time to pay close attention for possible warning signs related to your child’s vision. The National Institutes of Health estimates 20 percent of preschoolers have vision problems. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that among nine-to-15-year-olds, only 10 percent of kids who need glasses actually have them.

A study published in the journal Optometry also found that limited vision was a significant predictor of poor school performance. And it makes sense. Imagine learning to read when the words are blurred on the page. Or following along as a teacher scribbles fuzzy math problems on the blackboard.

Children don’t always know to tell parents when their vision isn’t great. In fact, if a child’s vision has been poor their whole life, they may not even realize it. So, your kids need your help to watch for the warning signs. 

The Warning Signs

1. Squinting

Squinting is often an attempt to overcome blurred vision caused by refractive issues, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. These are the most common types of vision problems in adults and children. Squinting may help momentarily, but it doesn’t correct the issue. Corrective lenses can often allow children with these challenges to achieve 20/20 vision.

2. Sitting Close to the TV

Sure, lots of kids sit too close to the TV, but you shouldn’t just write it off as them being engrossed with Elmo. They may actually have difficulty discerning details on the TV screen from farther away due to myopia (nearsightedness). Watch to see if they also hold books or tablets close to their face. If so, it’s definitely worth getting checked out. 

3. Covering One Eye or Tilting their Head

Children with blurred vision in one eye will often cover that eye to see clearly through the other. Covering one eye can also be their way of adjusting for eye misalignment, a condition called strabismus. Head tilting is another common adjustment kids make to try and compensate for vision issues. In this case, eye alignment issues such as amblyopia, are likely the core issue.

4. Frequent Headaches or Eye Pain

If your child develops frequent headaches or sore eyes, it could be related to their vision. Eye muscle imbalances and/or refractive issues can lead to asthenopia, commonly known as eye strain. And that often translates to headaches or eye pain, particularly following a long school day.

5. Trouble with Concentration

Children with vision challenges may have a hard time concentrating in school or while doing schoolwork at home. This can be misdiagnosed as ADHD. When in reality, it may be that your child is simply experiencing frustration and/or physical discomfort from their eyes straining to focus or allow them to read.

If you notice any of these warning signs in your child, schedule a comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. A simple pair of eyeglasses may be all they need to see clearly and start enjoying the benefits that come with it. 

Contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule your child’s appointment.



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