How Do I Know If My Child Needs Glasses?
As a parent, it can be difficult to determine if your child needs glasses. Children's eyes are constantly changing and developing, so it's important to be aware of the signs that may indicate a vision problem. Read on to learn about some common signs that your child may need glasses, as well as when and how to take your child to the eye doctor.
When Should A Child Have Their First Eye Exam?
First, it's important that children have their first eye exam at around six months of age and again at three years old. Then, they will typically have an eye exam about every two years until the age of 18. However, if you notice any of the following issues, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with your local eye doctor as soon as possible.
Your Child Has Trouble Seeing Things at a Distance
One of the most obvious signs that your child may need glasses is if they have difficulty seeing things at a distance. If your child squints or rubs their eyes when looking at objects that are further away, they may have a problem with their vision.
Your Child Struggles with Reading or Writing
Additionally, if your child has trouble reading or writing, or if they frequently lose their place while reading, this could also be an indication of issues with their vision.
If their school performance or any other daily tasks that involve reading, writing, or using hand-eye coordination seem to decline out of the blue, faulty vision may be to blame.
Your Child Struggles to See Things Up Close
Another sign that your child may need glasses is if they have difficulty seeing things up close. If your child holds books or toys close to their face or if they have trouble focusing on close-up tasks, this could be a sign that they need glasses.
Eye Strain or Frequent Headaches
Frequent headaches or eye strain are another pair of symptoms associated with poor eyesight. If your child frequently complains of headaches or if they rub their eyes a lot, this could be a sign that they need glasses.
Your Child Develops Strabismus
Another indication of a vision problem is if your child's eyes seem to cross or drift inward or outward. This is known as strabismus and it can cause double vision and other visual issues. There are a variety of causes for this condition, but it can often develop due to the eyes trying to compensate for issues such as farsightedness, and it can usually be corrected in most cases with the use of glasses.
Finding an Eye Doctor for Your Child
When it comes to taking your child to the eye doctor, it's important to find a reputable optometrist or ophthalmologist who specializes in children's vision. Usually, your child's pediatrician should be able to provide some great recommendations and even put in a referral if necessary.
An eye doctor will conduct a thorough exam and likely use a variety of tests to determine if your child needs glasses. This can include tests such as visual acuity tests (i.e., the chart we all know with the letters of various sizes on different lines), which will measure how well your child can see at certain distances, as well as tests that measure how well your child's eyes work together.
If it's determined that your child does need glasses, your optometrist will help guide you along the process of choosing the best frames and lenses for your child's visual concerns, and you can expect to have yearly follow-ups to determine if your child's vision has remained the same, improved at all, or worsened.
With the right care and attention, your child's vision problems can be corrected and they can go on to lead a happy and healthy life.
For more information about common eye-related conditions in children, please refer to the American Academy of Ophthamology's article about Childhood Eye Diseases and Conditions.
*Their website also has additional information about Eye Screening for Children as well as what one can expect regarding their baby's visual development between the ages of zero to 12 months.