Wondering if your child needs glasses? An eye care expert has come up with eight subtle signs it could be time for an exam.
Optometrist Giles Edmonds has compiled a list of common tricks employed by kids with poor eyesight to help them see — which can conceal their often very real need for glasses.
“A lot of parents assume that because their child doesn’t display any signs of a vision problem, there’s no need to have their eyes tested. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Ensuring your child has regular eye examinations from an early age is incredibly important for several reasons,” Edmonds told SWNS.
It comes as research from UK glasses retailer Specsavers found that 35% of parents of children aged 6 to 15 worry their little ones are trying to cover up issues with their eyesight, which can greatly impact their education and social life. The study surveyed 1,000 people.
“Given more than 80% of our learning, cognitive and social abilities are facilitated through our sight, it’s extremely important to your child’s overall development,” Edmonds explained.
He also noted that some issues can be prevented from worsening and treated more effectively, the earlier they are addressed.
“Lastly, an eye test doesn’t just check vision. It can also detect other underlying health conditions,” he said.
To help parents decide when their child might need to see an eye doctor, Edmonds singled out the eight behaviors that could mean it’s time to book an appointment.
“Eye rubbing is a sign of tired eyes at any age,” Edmonds said.
“If you notice your child rubbing their eyes while focusing on an object, it could indicate eye strain, which could be due to an uncorrected vision problem.”
Struggling with reading
“If your child is reading below their expected level this could be a sign of several vision problems,” the optometrist noted.
“Children who have issues with their eyesight may also repeat the same line twice, lose their place or use a finger to guide their eyes. Holding books or devices at a distance can support long-term eye health – keeping these items at a length of their knuckle to their elbow is a good guide, as holding them too close can be problematic.”
“Sometimes there are physical signs such as straining eyes, closing one eye or holding objects too close or too far away,” the eye doctor said.
“If kids are straining to see the board at school, they may also get frustrated which can mean they are disruptive in lessons. All these things can indicate problems with vision.”
Edmonds warns that “your child might experience more headaches, especially when reading.”
“When you look at objects or screens at close range, the muscles in and around your eyes need to work harder to focus,” he said. “Over time, these muscles can get sore and tired. Similarly, squinting for a long period may tire the muscles around your eyes, which can lead to headaches.”
Sitting close to the TV
“If your child makes a habit of sitting too close to the TV, this could be a sign they are struggling to see the details,” Edmonds said.
He added that “sitting too close to the screen could in turn cause additional eye strain.”
“If your child has perfected the art of tilting their head to read a book, it’s a sign they might be hiding issues with their eyesight,” the eye care expert said.
Sitting in the front row
Edmonds flagged that “sitting at the front of each class to get a good view of the board could be a sign your child is struggling with their vision.”
Closing one eye
“If your little one is often seen closing one eye when completing tasks, they may be doing this to favor their stronger eye and could highlight an uncorrected vision problem,” he said.