Signs That Your Child Needs an Eye Test
The health of your child is your paramount concern. But there is more than one category of health issues you need to be aware of. Certainly, the most obvious health issues are those that affect their entire body like colds and flu. But there are narrower concerns that need your attention as well such as allergies, asthma, gastrointestinal conditions, hearing and, of course, their eyesight. Eyesight problems can be tricky to unearth because children often don’t complain about not being able to see properly. That’s because they don’t really know what qualifies as “normal” eyesight. Below are 7 signs you will want to watch for that could indicate your child needs to have an eye test.
Watch for These Signs That Your Child is Having Vision Problems
In a perfect world, kids should be taken for eye tests every 1 or 2 years. But we understand that isn’t always possible and besides, issues can arise between those examinations. Here are 7 signs that may indicate your child is having a hard time seeing properly.
- They hold the book close to their face - You don’t need to be an eye doctor to realize that if your child is holding the book 6 inches from their face while reading or looking at pictures that something is amiss. If you see them doing this suggest they pull the book away to a more normal arm’s length and ask them to read out loud to you. If they can’t it’s time for an eye test.
- They exhibit clumsiness - In the not too distant past when someone exhibited a tendency to knock into things or knock things over others simply relegated them to clumsy status and that was that. Today we know that so-called “clumsy” people, especially children, are often suffering from vision problems. They knock things off of the table because they’re having a hard time judging distances. They walk into objects because they just don’t see them. If your child has been having a hard time avoiding things it’s time to schedule an eye test.
- Squinting or closing one eye - If your child is squinting while reading books, looking at the TV or looking at things in the distance, or if they close one eye while doing any of those things, it is a pretty clear indication that it’s time for an eye test. Squinting has been a sign of vision problems since the dawn of time and is a natural response to not being able to make things out clearly. Even people with normal vision squint sometimes in an effort to bring things into sharper focus. Rubbing their eyes regularly may also indicate something is bothering your child and they are trying to correct it.
- Complaining of headaches or nausea while reading - If your child seems otherwise fine but starts complaining of headaches when they start reading or concentrating on a computer screen it’s a pretty clear sign they should have their eyes tested. Likewise, if they complain that they feel nauseous or dizzy while trying to concentrate on something.
- A seeming disinterest in the task at hand - If a child seems disinterested in things that used to grab their attention some parents will understandably conclude that they must have simply moved on to other things. But a newfound lack of interest in something they previously showed an interest in could be something else. It could be a sign that they’re no longer able to engage with the material or task because they can’t see it clearly. It’s not terribly unusual for youngsters to experience a rapid deterioration in eyesight. A deterioration that will later stabilize but which can be very disconcerting when it’s happening.
- A Sudden drop in performance at school - If your standout student is suddenly bringing home grades that aren’t in line with past performance there could be a number of reasons why. It might be they’re not engaging with a new teacher or that they find it so easy they’re getting bored. But it might be something else. It might be that they can no longer see the blackboard, computer screen or the pages of their books clearly.
- They use a finger as a guide while reading - If kids can see clearly it’s highly unusual for them to use a finger as a guide while they read. This is a pretty clear indication that they’re not able to focus on the material, whether it’s in a book or on a computer screen. Since kids don’t have an adult-level understanding of how vision works or what is considered normal they’ll often come up with these kinds of workarounds instead of complaining that they can’t see.
If your child displays any of the above signs of vision problems make sure you schedule an eye test as soon as possible.