Squinting Tots: 4 Warning Signs Your Child Has Poor Vision
By : Anica Oaks
“I don’t see very well!”
Many times an adult will voice this, because an adult realizes that vision is perhaps not what it should be. An adult will report that she can’t see street signs well when driving, or that reading has become difficult.
But what about a child’s complaints?
It is uncommon for a child, especially one under the age of five, to report vision problems.
In fact, signs of poor vision in children are often not what a parent might connect to an eye problem. Keep these examples in mind when considering whether or not your child needs vision correction.
Kids are clumsy, right? But poor eye-hand coordination may very well be a sign of poor depth perception. Difficulty learning to write is one example. Poor performance in sports requiring catching a ball, batting a ball or learning to balance a bicycle are other examples.
A toddler may have difficulty stacking blocks, putting together a puzzle or coloring a picture.
Strabismus, (lazy eye), or crossed eyes may develop at the preschool age. Lazy eye may present no visible signs, but fine motor skills may be delayed, and the child may seem clumsy.
Nausea and Headache
Both of these symptoms might point to something as common as a fever, and then, maybe not. Headache and nausea could stem from eyestrain. Trying to accommodate ocular muscles that don’t work properly for coloring or tracking to read can cause tiredness, nausea and headaches. Frequent complaints of headache or upset stomach need to be investigated, and an ophthalmologist should be considered for an evaluation.
Sensitivity to Light
Children with light sensitivity will be pained by the flash of a camera, sunshine and bright indoor light. This may be photophobia, or extreme sensitivity to light. The sensitivity can cause nausea and headaches, and sometimes dizziness. Eyes will tear excessively. Photophobia is not a disease, but a symptom of a condition, such as an allergy, viral illness or migraine. Children with blue or green eyes are more light sensitive, because darker eyes contain more pigment and thus more protection from bright light.
Squinting to see objects or words from a distance may be a sign of nearsightedness. Nearsightedness is often very easily corrected with glasses prescribed by an optometrist.
Optometrists from All About Eyes or a provider near you are child-friendly and choosing glasses can be fun. A consultation with an optometrist can open a bright new world for a child.
Children grow and develop rapidly. Often, parents or teachers may not be aware of subtle vision problems. Watching for developmental delays and contacting an eye specialist for an assessment is a good investigative measure.