Now, given the extra time you’ve been spending with your young ones, you may have also noticed a few concerning behaviours that cause you to worry about their ocular health. If any of this rings true, a children’s eye exam might be the answer.
In this handy guide, we’re going to discuss the importance of these exams, as well as some common signs of visual impairment that could indicate your child needs one.
How Does a Children’s Eye Exam Help?
A children’s eye exam is a comprehensive test carried out by qualified optometrists to measure the visual abilities and ocular health of young children. These doctors make use of specific diagnostic and clinical tools to identify vision problems or visual impairments.
An eye exam can be conducted as early as six months to ensure normal development in an infant. You can continue to take your child for eye exams during subsequent years to make sure their vision is developing normally.
Do remember that development delay, in general, can extend to vision, and if your child is experiencing these delays in other areas, it is best to evaluate the development of visual ability as well.
Identifying Common Eyesight Problems in Children
If you notice any symptoms of visual impairment in your child, it is best that you get an appointment for a children’s eye exam as soon as possible. This will help identify any potential issues with your child’s vision and get them treated before exacerbation.
Does your child seem to have difficulty looking at people or things clearly? Do they half-shut their eyes while looking at certain objects?
When done frequently, the act of squinting is usually a clear indicator of some kind of visual difficulty in a child. It is natural behaviour to someone who cannot see an object as easily or clearly as they used to. It allows you to get momentary clarity and makes it easier to focus.
When your child is unable to see something clearly, they strain their eyes in an attempt to focus. This additional effort creates tension that could trigger headaches, or sometimes even nausea.
If your child is regularly complaining about headaches that cannot otherwise be explained, it is a good idea to visit an optometrist near you to investigate whether visual difficulty is the cause.
Covering an Eye for Clarity
Does your child shut one of their eyes every time they need to focus on something? This could be a sign of astigmatism or exotropia. Both of these conditions involve an inability to process light effectively.
Similarly, a child may also tilt their head to the side to see objects more clearly. This could indicate a misalignment of the eyes or lazy eye syndrome. Other signs of lazy eye syndrome include eyes that appear to move inward or outward, eyes that seem like they are not working together, or difficulty in perceiving the closeness of an object.
Do keep in mind that children who are born prematurely, have developmental liabilities and a family history of lazy eye syndrome are more at risk for developing these eye problems.
Holding Objects Closer Than Necessary
Does your child sit too close to the computer or the television? Do they hold books close to their face while they are reading? If so, they may have myopia or near-sightedness.
The opposite is also indicative of an eyesight problem. For example, if your child has to sit far away from objects to view them clearly, or holds books at arm’s length to read them, it could be a sign of farsightedness.
In both scenarios, your child may need glasses. It is best to see a qualified children’s optometrist immediately.
Rubbing of Eyes
A child who is experiencing eye fatigue may constantly rub their eyes to get clarity. It could also be indicative of an allergic reaction, blurry vision, or other visual impairments.
Eye rubbing can sometimes also be accompanied by watery eyes or tears. This could also be an indicator of strain or allergies.
Some children are clumsier than others, simply as a way of being. However, occasionally a child may display clumsy behaviour because they cannot see their surroundings very clearly.
If you observe that your child is constantly tripping, stumbling, or running into things even while they are not engaging in playful behaviour, they may have an undiagnosed eyesight problem. If you notice the clumsiness, along with any of the other signs mentioned in this list, it is best to get your child to take a children’s eye exam at the earliest opportunity.
Find an Optometrist for Your Child Today
Squinting, frequent headaches, sitting too close to objects and head tilting may not be unusual when occurring in isolation. However, the combination of these symptoms should definitely be a cause for concern among parents.
Did you notice any of the above signs in your child? If so, it’s time to schedule a children’s eye exam immediately!
At Eye Expressions, we work closely with you to ensure that your children get the best possible care for their eyes. Send us a message, or give us a call to set up an appointment with our qualified, experienced optometrists in Lloydminster Alberta/Saskatchewan, Canada.