9 signs it's time to take your child for an eye test

20 September 2017 - 12:37 By AFP Relaxnews
If you child regularly complains of headaches, it could be a sign that they need an eye test.
If you child regularly complains of headaches, it could be a sign that they need an eye test.
Image: iStock

"Vision isn't the first culprit parents think of when their child is struggling in school, but it can be playing a part in their child's poor school or sports performance," says Marcela Frazier, an Associate Professor from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Ophthalmology.

A thorough eye test can detect a variety of eye conditions which, if left untreated in a child, could affect their eye health later in life, potentially even leading to partial or complete loss of sight.

Here are give nine signs to look out for that suggest your child may need an eye test: 

1. Complaining of headaches

When children strain their eyes to focus, this causes headaches over extended periods of time.

2. Becoming fatigued after reading

If your child feels their eyes are burning, itching, or tired, this is eye fatigue. It might be difficult to notice these symptoms in a child, but if they are falling behind in reading comprehension or try to avoid reading activities, this might be the culprit.

3. Poor sports performance

If a child's visual processing seems slower than it should, this might be a sign there is a vision issue. A child with an untreated vision problem might perform poorly in sports due to clumsiness, poor hand-eye coordination, inability to focus or skewed depth perception.

4. Squinting or closing one eye

Squinting does not damage eyes, but it might be a sign that a child needs glasses. By squinting, a child is subconsciously attempting to make the pupil smaller, therefore letting in less light. This technique enhances a child's focus that might be potentially blurry.

5. Blinking or rubbing eyes

If a child rubs their eyes while trying to concentrate on an activity, particularly reading, or while being active, it could also be a sign that the child has a vision problem.

6. Poor reading ability and comprehension

Good vision is essential for students of all ages to reach their full academic potential. If a child seems disinterested in reading, is sidetracked easily, does not understand material read, or reads the same sentence multiple times, it might be time to schedule an eye test.

7. Poor school performance

It is important for parents to remember that children do not have a concept of poor vision, so they might not always tell you when they cannot read something their teacher writes on the blackboard. As a result, their marks can suffer.

8. Holding electronic devices or books too close to eyes

It is a myth that sitting too close to electronic devices can hurt your eyes, but if a child is sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close to their face, it might be a sign of a vision problem. Leaning closely in to read text or see images on the television might often mean a child is living with nearsightedness.

9. Losing their place while reading

Using a finger to track the words can be typical behavior for a child who is learning to read, but it's also a good idea to pay attention to this behavior - they should eventually be able to focus on the words without losing place.