If your child has poor vision, he or she may not be aware of it. As a parent, it's your job to watch your child for signs of vision trouble. Here are a few indications that your child is in need of an appointment with an optometrist.
Your Child Sits Too Close to the Television
While many small children will sit close to the television out of a natural interest in the program they're watching, some children do so because they're having a hard time seeing all the details on the screen. Ask your child to sit away from the television. If your child continues to lean forward or scoot forward, your child could be doing so because of a vision problem.
Your Child Struggles in Specific Ways While Reading
Children who have a hard time reading because they're unable to see properly may display the following signs:
- Holding the book too close to the face.
- Using finger pointing to avoid losing the spot.
- Reading with one eye closed.
- Squinting while reading.
Even if your child displays none of these symptoms, but simply struggles with reading or complains of headaches while reading, it's important to not rule out vision trouble as a potential source of the problem. If your child is too young to read, he or she may still display some of these symptoms while trying to color in a coloring book or look at a picture book during story time.
Your Child's Eyes Are Often Irritated
Some eye problems can be a source of eye irritation. If your child's eyes are dry and itchy or if they water frequently, this could be a sign of vision problems.
Vision screening tests rely on the ability of the child to hold still, follow instructions and read letters on a chart. This means that common visual acuity tests may not work until a child is at least 3 years old, and some children must be older. If you believe your child has vision problems, take your child in to an optometrist for a visual acuity test once he or she is old enough. If your child is very young and fails the test, this could be because your child is too young to handle the test. Depending on the situation, your child's optometrist may recommend retaking the test after a certain period of time, or may recommend that your child take a more comprehensive test.