My daughter failed her first test in preschool–a vision test. She was so near-sighted in her left eye that she couldn’t see the big “E” on the eye chart without straining.
A couple of days later, I took her to a pediatric ophthalmologist for an eye exam. My daughter was a little frightened by the equipment, but I held her hand to help her relax. After a 40-minute examination, the doctor confirmed that my daughter needed glasses. We spent the next hour searching for some frames that my daughter liked. She finally settled on Dora the Explorer frames.
Thankfully, she never fought me on wearing them. Unlike my friends’ kids who lose or break theirs, my daughter has always taken good care of her spectacles. Even now that she’s almost a teenager, she wears them without complaint (although she is eager for contacts).
If not for that vision test at my daughter’s school, I don’t know if I would have noticed my daughter’s vision problems. I never had vision problems as a child, and I didn’t know what to look for. Since that fateful day, I’ve learned how to detect vision problems in children (mainly because I had two other kids and I wanted to be better prepared).
Here are three symptoms parents should look for when trying to identify vision problems:
In retrospect, I realize that my daughter squinted often. I attributed it to the bright Texas sun. However, it was a sign that she was having trouble seeing things in the distance. If you notice your child is squinting more than usual, especially when reading or watching television, it could be a sign of a vision problem.
My daughter never complained about headaches, but I experienced them before I found out I needed glasses. My doctor told me the headaches were caused by the increased strain on my eyes. If your child has persistent headaches, specifically those that occur in the front around the forehead or eyes, you should have his or her eyes checked.
Children can’t always verbalize what they’re dealing with, but a sudden drop in grades is a sure sign that something is going on. Children who cannot see what’s on the blackboard clearly or read the print in books may withdraw from their schoolwork because of frustration. If your child’s school performance starts to decline, check his or her vision. The sooner a child gets glasses or contacts, the better it will be for his or her health and development.
Keep an “eye” out for these and other telltale signs, and make sure to bring up any concerns to your child’s pediatrician for advice.