One of the major problems with children and perception issues is that they frequently don’t realize that they are different from the other children around them. Rare is the child who will simply tell you, “I can’t see.” Instead, you have to watch them for the signs that indicate that an eye exam might be necessary. For example:
Wandering Around the Classroom
Many are the students who have been diagnosed (informally) with ADHD by their teachers only to have their parents learn that what they actually needed was glasses. If your teacher complains that your kid has a hard time staying in their seat — particularly during presentations, lectures, or when the whiteboard is the focus of everyone’s attention — schedule them for an eye exam, San Jose‘s Doctor Jeffery Holbert says.
You wouldn’t guess it unless you’ve been there, but squinting when there’s no sun is a common sign of nearsightedness. Things that are too far away for a nearsighted person to see clearly can be brought into slightly more detail by squinting, because it slightly changes the shape of the eye. If your kiddo squints frequently, particularly when outside, bring him to an optometrist.
Poor vision can cause both stress headaches and even minor exertion headaches — compensating for bad eyesight takes work! Of course, a child doesn’t necessarily know to tell you that they have a headache — they might not even be aware — so look for comfort-seeking behavior and simply ask them if their head hurts. If they say yes more than once or twice a week, consider a visit to the eye doctor.
Operating With One Eye Shut
Though it’s relatively rare, sometimes just one eye is out-of-focus. Children are surprisingly adaptable, and will frequently (without ever mentioning it) start reading, watching TV, or playing with one eye shut or covered. If you catch your little one doing this more than once (and they’re not just playing pirates), it’s definitely eye exam time.
Strabismus (misaligned eyes), astigmatism, nearsightness, farsightedness — these are just some of the many things that an eye exam might find in your child. According to Dr. Holbert, all of them are treatable, but moreso if they’re caught early. Don’t delay: schedule an eye exam for your child the moment you spy any of these symptoms.