Vision problems are quite common in children these days. In fact, according to the Vision 2020 manual, 12-17 per cent of children in India are reported to have eye vision problems. However, one of the biggest challenges faced by parents is how to identify vision problems in their children. In the case of children who are too young to figure out and communicate, parents might not be able to notice the vision issues immediately, which can further exacerbate it. So, here we’re revealing symptoms of eye problems in children so that you know if your child is having vision problems or not.
Signs that show your child needs glasses
Here are 5 indicators of vision problems in children that you should be aware of:
If you find your child squinting frequently, they could have trouble focusing on an image. Squinting can help temporarily improve clarity and focus of an object by limiting the entry of the amount of light in your kid’s eyes and it may also adjust the shape of the eye, helping your child see better for a while. However, children squinting frequently could very well be compensating for vision problems. It is a disorder in which you are unable to look at the same direction at the same time.
2. Frequent headaches
Hyperopia, commonly known as farsightedness, leads to strain or fatigue of the eye muscles causing severe headache in children. While reading or performing other near activities, the eyes are pulled in towards each other, a process known as convergence. The decreased ability to perform such action is known as convergence insufficiency and often causes headache in children. In addition to headache, a child may complain about doubling of images or words, and/ or blurred vision. Other ocular causes for headaches in children include acute eye infections and inflammatory diseases, photophobia, pseudotumor cerebri, etc.
3. Excessive rubbing of the eyes
If your kids rub their eyes excessively, it can indicate that they are experiencing eye strain or fatigue. After experiencing eye strain for hours, your kids might rub their eyes excessively to see better. This can also indicate various kinds of vision conditions such as allergic conjunctivitis. Getting eyeglasses can help reduce the strain on your child’s eyes and promote better visibility.
4. Sitting too close to the TV or other devices
Sitting too close to the TV, lowering the head to read, and holding the phone or tablet too close to the eyes are other common signs of poor vision. People with nearsightedness (myopia) suffer from poor vision at a distance and clear vision at a close range. If your child brings objects too close to his/her eyes to make them clearer and larger, then he/she might have poor vision.
5. Difficulty in focusing
Children need to accurately and quickly shift their visual focus from nearby objects to distant ones, especially in classrooms. They are often made to shift their focus from textbooks to blackboards or computers. A child with vision problems may find it difficult to focus visually as well as mentally. Moreover, vision problems can manifest in the form of a lack of focus on learning and schoolwork.
Other symptoms of eye problems
Apart from the above-listed signs, if a child frequently tilts his or her head while trying to focus, he/she is trying to adjust their vision in an attempt to make the image clearer. If you notice your child doing this frequently, it might be a sign that your child’s eyes are misaligned or have amblyopia (also called lazy eye). You might even catch your child closing one eye to change the angle of an image, trying to increase its clarity. Children often close the eye with poorer vision to improve the visibility in the other eye. It can also be a sign that your kid is seeing double.
Eye check is best way to detect eye problems in children
The best way to know whether your child needs eyeglasses is to get them a comprehensive eye exam by an experienced ophthalmologist, who will check for refractive errors, eye alignment, and binocularity, and rule out other causes. It is recommended to take your kids for a routine eye check-up once every 6 months to diagnose the problem in its initial stage and reverse it immediately.