Reading Between the Lines: How to Tell if Your Child Needs Glasses

If your child hasn’t experienced significant vision problems at an early age, you might assume they may not have any reading issues. Despite normal screenings before the age of five, eye health problems sometimes develop later in childhood. Identifying and treating vision deficiencies is essential in protecting your child’s overall health. Learn common signs that your child might need glasses as well as potential next steps you should take.

Early Signs
At the age of five, children undergo a basic vision assessment at their annual pediatric visits. These tests involve seeing objects and letters up close and at a distance. A nurse may also cover one eye to make sure there aren’t any problems. Around this age, children who may need glasses might show early signs such as dry eyes, squinting, and headaches. Some children may even tilt their heads when reading or looking at objects. If you notice they are having any of the common issues you can do simple tests yourself by having them read from distances and covering each eye.

Reading Problems at School
Still, not all children exhibit the need for glasses at the five-year mark. In some cases, related issues aren’t noticeable until school starts. As children learn to read, they can exhibit problems seeing small print, or even have a tendency to skip lines or lose their place in a book. Your child might need to sit at a front desk in the classroom in order to see and learn better. On top of that, your child’s teacher might observe poor performance in school as a sign of vision problems. Talk to their teacher and ask how they interact in the classroom and what other issues might be causing poor performance.

Vision Problems at Home
Children who need glasses may also have issues outside of academics. At home, your child might sit too close to the computer or television screen in order to see. They may also get headaches when focusing or reading. Difficulties on the playground or playing sports may also be noticeable. A child with vision problems can have frequent redness in the eyes, and even white pupils. Of course this is also a common sign of allergies in kids so be on the lookout for other symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose and itching or rashes. Don’t forget to talk to your child as well. It may be as simple as asking them if their eyes hurt or if their vision gets blurry or eyes get itchy.

Solutions and Treatment Options
A comprehensive vision analysis is essential to properly identifying vision problems in children. In some cases, this can be as simple as prescribing reading glasses. Other children might have problems with the way their eyes focus in different levels of light and treatment may require corrective procedures like LASIK surgery. Talk to your family doctor and if necessary get a second opinion from an eye specialist or pediatric doctor. They may know other issues that may be causing eye health issues and be able to treat the source of the problem.

Determining your child’s vision needs can help you provide the right corrective aids and procedures to improve overall quality of life. You should know how to spot the early signs and the bigger issues that might be a concern. It’s also important to be proactive about your child’s eye health in case the underlying problem is serious. Remember that the earlier you address pediatric vision problems, the better the outcome for both you and your kids.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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