As a parent—especially a first-time parent to a newborn—worrying about your child and their development is normal. You may wonder how their body and mind are progressing and all hopes are positive. However, one of the many questions you may ask yourself during this time is Does my child have vision problems?
How can you know if you can’t ask them, right? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could lean in and get an answer?
Everything’s great, Mom! (Wouldn’t that be nice?)
Unfortunately, when little ones are too young to speak, we can’t know if anything is wrong with their vision. Nor can we rely on the word of a young toddler who may or may not understand what we’re trying to determine when we ask them questions regarding what they see.
It is for these reasons that the answer to the question Does my child have vision problems? relies mostly on us, as parents.
Here are five symptoms to check to determine if there may be an issue.
#1: Changes in behavior or actions
This is sometimes difficult to note in children, but try to pay attention to any changes in their everyday actions. Here are some questions to consider:
• Are they sitting farther away from the TV than normal? Closer?
• If and when they read, are they holding the book oddly close to or far from their face?
• When they read out loud, do they lose their spot or miss words frequently?
• Do they cover one eye while they watch TV or read?
These vision changes can lead to issues with reading comprehension that are easily preventable.
These simple yet sometimes overlooked signs can be easy to miss, but can be the first major sign of an issue.
#2: Developmental issues
These are a parents’ worst nightmare and one that can sometimes be the result of false alarms, but you still shouldn’t take them lightly.
If you think your child is falling behind the average learning curve and it may be due to visual impairment, early treatment can give them the best chance of getting caught up.
#3: Physical symptoms
Looking for physical symptoms in a child needs to begin at birth. Once your baby opens their big, beautiful eyes and introduces them to the world, take a look. See if there are any marks that look abnormal, such as a white spot on their eye.
Symptoms like a spot on the eye could mean your baby has a cataract.
Does my child have vision problems? Not yet, but if they have a cataract that goes untreated, it could lead to their eventual blindness.
As your child grows, you should also look for other symptoms such as:
– Droopy eyelids
– Redness and swelling
– Misaligned eyes
Ptosis can lead to droopy eyelids, for example. This condition causes the eyelid skin to sag and interfere with your child’s vision. It can also lead to lazy eye and other vision problems, such as astigmatism.
While misaligned eyes may not lead to eventual blindness, it is, sadly, an easy target for bullies at school. If your child’s eyes are misaligned, we can fix them and give your child back the confidence they deserve.
#4: Constant Eye Rubbing
While your child may rub their eyes occasionally when they are tired or sleepy, your child may be constantly rubbing their eyes as though trying to clear debris from them. If they experience blurred or distorted vision, this may be an attempt to clear their eyesight. We can help pinpoint any issues with their sight and treat the causes behind poor vision.
#5: Light Sensitivity
Do you find that your child is constantly trying to shield their eyes from light, even when indoors? They may have an extreme sensitivity to light. Light sensitivity is present in conditions such as photophobia, cataracts, eye ulcers, and more. It is important to get your child to a pediatric ophthalmologist to diagnose the condition as soon as possible.
Does my child have vision problems?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends your child’s eyes be screened at their 9-month, 18-month, and 30-month wellness visits. Special attention should also be given to their checkup at age 4 or 5, which is typically the last visit before the child enters school.
If you find that your child is showing any signs listed in this article, contact us and we’ll walk you through the next steps to ensuring your child is properly examined.