It's back-to-school season and kids all over the country are trading in their swimsuits for backpacks. There are lots of ways parents prepare their children for school, from back-to-school shopping to scheduling an annual check-up with your family doctor. But something thing that parents sometimes forget is to schedule an eye exam for their child!
Good vision is essential for learning, and many children who need glasses aren't aware that their vision could be better. If you're not sure how to tell, don't worry - we're here to help! Here are five ways you can tell if your child needs glasses, as well as some tips on how to protect your child's vision.
1. They Frequently Squint Or Rub Their Eyes
When a child's eye is bothering them, their first reaction is often to rub it. Rubbing the eyes can be a symptom of many common eye problems, including dry eye, allergies, pink eye, and issues seeing clearly. If they're having trouble seeing, this rubbing is often the result of eye fatigue, caused by squinting in an attempt to see better.
Squinting is often done in an attempt to see better, but it tends to put a strain on the eyes and often makes vision problems worse. A child who squints may also tilt their head in an attempt to see more clearly, or as a result of a lazy eye or crossed eyes.
All of this extra effort to see clearly can lead to headaches or fatigue, so if you notice your child frequently squinting, rubbing their eyes, or tilting their head, it's time to visit the children's eye health experts at Everett & Hurite. With regular eye exams, your child's eye doctor can determine whether glasses are needed to help your child see more clearly and comfortably.
2. They Hold Objects Too Close To Their Face
Do you find your child holding books, digital devices, or toys close to their face? Do they sit too close to the TV? If so, they may be experiencing nearsightedness, a common vision problem that makes it difficult to see objects in the distance.
On top of scheduling an eye exam with your eye doctor, setting screen time limits can also help your child's eye health. People of all ages, from kids to young adults to seniors, can experience digital eye strain from the blue light emitted by digital screens. This blue light can cause symptoms like headaches, dry eyes, and fatigue.
A child who spends too much time staring closely at a digital device may be at risk for developing myopia, or nearsightedness. To help reduce the risk of digital eye strain and nearsightedness, make sure your child takes regular breaks from screens and spends time outside every day. Studies show that - just make sure your child wears sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays!
3. They Often Cover One Eye
A lazy eye, or amblyopia, is a common vision problem that occurs when the brain favors one eye over the other. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including crossed eyes, an unequal refractive error between the two eyes, and blockages in the visual system. If your child has amblyopia, they may often cover one eye in an attempt to see better. This can happen unconsciously, so you may not always notice when your child is doing it. If you suspect your child has this eye condition, schedule an appointment with their eye doctor right away.
However, if your child is more prone to covering their eyes when outdoors, they may be experiencing exotropia. Exotropia is a type of strabismus, or crossed eyes, that occurs when the eyes point outward. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including an overactive thyroid gland or long-sightedness. If you notice your child's eyes crossing or turning out when they look at distant objects, a vision screening or comprehensive eye exam is necessary to determine whether glasses or other treatment are needed.
There are a number of vision problems that can cause your child to cover one eye, so it's important to visit an eye doctor for a comprehensive evaluation. By catching these problems early, you can help keep your child's eyes healthy!
4. They're A Bit Clumsy
If you received glasses as a child, you might remember how amazed you felt the first time you saw the individual leaves on the trees around you. You had no idea your vision could be so clear! For this reason, many kids won't report that they're experiencing unclear or blurred vision—they simply don't know.
But there are ways for you to tell that your child's vision might not be as clear as it could be. One way is by observing their level of hand-eye coordination and clumsiness. If your child is tripping over their own feet or constantly bumping into things, it could be a sign that they're not seeing as clearly as they should.
Luckily, with and a new pair of glasses, the severity of these problems can be reduced. Your child may also benefit from playing sports or doing other activities that stimulate hand-eye coordination—so long as their glasses have strong, polycarbonate lenses to protect them from eye injuries.
5. They're Struggling In School
School-age children with uncorrected vision problems may face several challenges in the classroom, including difficulty seeing the board, difficulty concentrating on or paying attention to schoolwork, and difficulty reading. As a result, they may fall behind their classmates and struggle to keep up with schoolwork.
If you've noticed your child is having difficulty in school, make an appointment with the dedicated experts at Everett & Hurite. Many vision problems can be easily corrected with glasses or other treatments, so it's important to get your child's eyes checked on a regular basis.