Communicating with your child about their vision can sometimes become blurred, especially when they’re too young to tell you. Vision issues in children aren’t the easiest to identify at any age, because frankly, your child might not understand that he or she has any. These issues tend to become more easily identifiable at the reading and writing age when eye issues might even be mistaken for learning disabilities. It’s up to mom and dad to keep an eye on the warning signs of vision abnormalities.
According to the American Public Health Association, about 10 percent of preschoolers have eye or vision problems. Here is a list of signs parents should watch out for according to the Nemours Children’s Health System:
- Constant eye rubbing
- Extreme light sensitivity
- Poor focusing
- Poor visual tracking (following an object)
- Abnormal alignment or movement of the eyes (after 6 months of age)
- Chronic redness of the eyes
- Chronic tearing of the eyes
- A white pupil instead of black
As the American Optometric Association points out, parents can be given false hope when their child passes a vision screening. While beneficial in some cases, a vision screening by a child’s pediatrician or at his or her preschool is not the same as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist. These sort of tests may miss up to 60 percent of children with vision issues. By age three your child should have an optometric eye examination. If there are no identifiable issues, their next exam should be at age five.
When your child is school age, talk to them and their teachers regularly to make sure they are not having trouble seeing the board or reading things in the classroom. At home you might also watch for them sitting too close to the TV or squinting.
Keeping an eye on your child’s vision shouldn’t cause you too much strain. When it comes to your child’s sight, the key is staying up-to-date on exams.