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Three Signs Your Child Needs An Eye Exam

During childhood, the muscles in the eyes grow and change, and vision problems can appear or disappear as your child’s eyesight alters according to the physiology of the eyes. This is why it’s recommended that you get regular eye exams for your child at a frequency depending on age and likelihood of vision problems. Sometimes, though, a vision problem will develop between visits, and catching it early means you’ll be able to schedule another visit as soon as it’s needed. This can save your young child frustration, eye strain, and literal headaches. Here are three signs to look out for.

1. Discomfort

Discomfort can include eye irritation, eye strain, and headaches. Your child may be too young to realize that these types of discomfort are atypical. Be on the lookout for symptoms such as:

  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Squinting
  • Tearing up at non-emotional moments
  • Complaining of headaches

2. Trouble reading

Some children learn to read faster than others, so if your child displays some of these behaviors, it may or may not be related to eyesight. However, if an eye problem develops, these behaviors may develop when they were not previously present. Look out for:

  • Losing place while reading (distinct from losing interest or becoming distracted and looking up from the page)
  • Difficulty following the line of text 
  • Holding a book too close to the face
  • Using a finger to track words (although this can be normal when first learning to read)

3. Coping mechanisms

When a child develops an eyesight problem, he or she may discover that vision can be slightly improved by holding the head a certain way or using one eye rather than the other. Look for these idiosyncrasies, which may be normal or may be signs of a vision problem:

  • Tilting the head
  • Sitting close to the television
  • Covering one eye when reading

If you notice something that may be a symptom of a vision problem, such as covering one eye, have a conversation with your child about why the behavior occurs. If the answer is “because it helps me read better” or something similarly suspicious, it may be time to take your child in for an eye exam. This is especially true if you notice multiple suspicious behaviors or if the behaviors are in the “discomfort” category. Anything that’s causing your child eye strain or discomfort should be dealt with immediately. If you’re unsure about whether your child needs an eye exam, ask your child’s optometrist for a recommendation. To find out more, contact a professional like Dr Fernando Eye Care optometrists.