It is understandable that, as a parent, that you want your children to excel and make the most of their potential both in and out of school. But, if your child is struggling in school or on the playground all of a sudden, an undetected vision problem may be to blame. Your child may be unable to see the blackboard clearly, or focus on his homework, causing frustration. Here’s where you need to know; clear vision and good eye health is essential for your child’s learning and development. The Pediatrics Association of India recommends that your child’s eyes be screened regularly right from the birth, by 6 months of age, at 5 years of age, and each subsequent year by his/her pediatrician without fail. Do note, a vision screening is not the same as an eye check-up. The former could be done by your child’s primary pediatrician and the latter is conducted by a certified optometrist. In addition to the screenings and eye exam, it’s crucial that you as parents keep an eye out for red flags or signs that indicate your child may have vision problems. Here are a few common signs that might help you with this…
1 Sitting Too Close To The Television
Has your child been sitting way too close to the television lately? Or holding his iPad two inches from his nose or phone while reading something? Signs say, he is probably suffering from Myopia (nearsightedness). This means, your child probably has a clear vision when the screen is close to the eyes, but if kept at a distance, he can’t see anything but a blurry, brightly lit screen. Moving closer to the screen helps to clear focal point and makes the object you’re looking at seem larger – if you see your child doing this, an eye exam is suggested, and if prolonged, the uncorrected vision issue may worsen with time.
The same goes for kids who cover one eye to read or watch anything. This could mean that your child is at the risk of amblyopia, which could lead to cataracts in future.
2 Light Sensitivity
Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. Branching out of this condition, is exotropia, wherein one occasionally squints one eye when looking at something bright, or when they are out and about in harsh sunlight. Children with this type of vision problem may have light sensitivity or photo-phobia. Keep an eye on your child in situations when they are in different types of lights like fluorescent, bright sunlight, full brightness on TV or phone screens. Another symptom that comes along with this condition is severe headaches.
3 Teary Eyes
Some children have a tendency to not shut their eyelids fully while asleep. This might result in their eye surface drying up, causing excessive tearing up during the day to compensate the lack of moisture that hampers clear vision in them. This condition is known as lag ophthalmus and might cause serious vision damage in the long run if not treated in time.
4 Frequent Headaches
Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of vision problems. If your child is unable to see clearly and suffers from blurry vision, he or she will try to exert effort by squinting or going too close to the screen or a book, which could result in frequent headaches. If your child has nearsightedness or farsightedness, they may feel a band of pain across their forehead, including the eyebrows regularly.
5 Tilting Head
An eye misalignment may be the number one reason why your child is tilting his or her head sideways. This is caused by Ptosis, otherwise known as drooping eye, a condition in which the upper eyelid droops into the line of vision. Titling the head helps the child in seeing past the drooping eyelid. Another reason for the head tilting could be that he or she must be suffering from double vision, when looking in a particular direction.
If you ever see your child crinkling his eyes narrow trying to see or read something, this could be an attempt to see more clearly or as a reaction to a strong, bright light. While squinting may temporarily help your kid with clear vision, it is a big red flag that your child may need an eye exam.
Before you panic, remember all these conditions, when caught in time, are treatable. It’s important to stay vigilant and help your child enjoy good vision.