As a parent, you may wonder whether your preschooler has a vision problem or when you should schedule your child’s first eye exam.
Eye exams for children are extremely important, because 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child’s vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early.
For school-aged children, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or as recommended by their optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Early eye examinations are crucial to make sure children have normal, healthy vision so they can perform better at schoolwork or play.
To read more about eye exam for children click here.
Early eye exams also are important because children need the following basic skills related to good eyesight for learning:
- Near vision
- Distance vision
- Binocular (two eyes) coordination
- Eye movement skills
- Focusing skills
- Peripheral awareness
- Hand-eye coordination
Signs of Vision Problems in Children
1. Gets headaches when reading or writing
2. Words slide together or get blurry when reading
3. Reads below grade level
4. Loses place while reading
5. Tilts head or closes an eye when reading
6. Hard to copy from the blackboard at school
7. Doesn’t like reading or writing
8. Leaves out small words when reading
9. Hard to write in a straight line
10. Burning, itching, or watery eyes
11. Hard to understand what he/she has read
12. Holds book very close
13. Hard to pay attention when reading
14. Hard to finish assignments on time
15. Gives up easily (says “I can’t” before trying)
16. Bumps into things, knocks things over
17. Homework takes too long
18. Daydreams in class
19. In trouble for being off task at school
20. Seem to have difficulty finding or picking up small objects dropped on the floor (after the age of 12 months)
21. Has difficulty focusing or making eye contact
22. Eyes appear to be crossed or turned
23. Closes one eye when trying to look at distant objects
It’s always a good idea to get your child’s eyes checked on an annual or bi-annual basis, but here are some signs you can look for that may indicate that your child is having vision problems.