12 Signs your Child needs an eye test now
- One or both eyes turning (inwards, outwards, up or down) even if intermittently. Your child may have a muscle imbalance which can be treated by exercises, or they may have strabismus (squint) which can require spectacles, exercises, patching or operation. If treatment is given as soon as it is noticed the potential to have good vision in both eyes is good. If it is left untreated, your child may suffer from double vision and life long poor eyesight.
- White pupil. It is often seen as the absence of a red reflex in a photograph. This can be retinoblastoma- a form of eye tumor and requires immediate urgent attention. Children can also suffer from cataracts from birth or early childhood which if severe and left untreated can permanently damage a child's vision.
- Difficulty reading. Can be caused by poor sight (often being too long-sighted). Eye muscle problems or uneven vision in the two eyes (amblyopia) all of which can be treated and improved. If difficulty reading is not caused by an eyesight problem, it could be Irlen Syndrome which causes the print to jump and blur. The condition is particularly prevalent in those who have dyslexia, migraine, and specific learning difficulties. Reading comfort, speed and accuracy can be significantly improved following an eye tracking and coloured overlay assessment.
- Clumsiness. Falling over or bumping into things are often caused by poor sight.
- Shyness or Rudeness. Short-sighted people are often accused of 'blanking' people. Usually, this is because they cannot see who a person is from a distance and facial expressions can be difficult to interpret if they are blurry so a child with visual difficulties may avoid eye contact and appear slow to respond to visual cues.
- Lack of interest in specific tasks. If a child is very long sighted, reading, close work, and puzzles are taxing for the eyes so a child may avoid these activities. Equally, for a short-sighted child, the outside world may appear blurry and scary leading to clinginess and fear of bigger spaces.
- Headaches. One of the more well-known symptoms of eye strain. Eyesight related headaches tend to be frontal or migraine in nature, but all headaches should be investigated by an eye examination to rule out other causes.
- Rubbing eyes. Tired eyes from the strain of seeing are often subject to being rubbed or poked.
- Poor behaviour and concentration at school. When your child can't see, it can make reading from the board difficult or concentrating on near tasks a strain. It is therefore often common for children who can't see well to misbehave or become easily distracted in class or at home.
- Delayed development in reading and speech. If your child can't see well, it can make it very difficult to differentiate between words and pictures in books as well as viewing objects being pointed out. Therefore speech development can also be delayed.
- Poor coordination. Catching or hitting a ball can be tricky if your child has poor vision in one eye or a muscle imbalance.
- Itchy, gritty, red eyes or scaly eyelids. Children can suffer from some allergies, infections and skin conditions that can cause discomfort and sometimes blurring to their sight. Most are easy to clear up with the right treatment but make sure you get advice from an expert Optometrist and don't self prescribe as many over the counter drops and medications may not be suitable for children and certain ingredients (often preservatives) can make the condition worse.
Getting children's eye care right can give them the best start educationally, socially and in all aspects of life. So we test your children's eyes with the same care we do for our own children. Spending longer than most opticians and using child-specific test we make sure every aspect of their eyesight and health is thoroughly monitored. Read more about children's eye tests here.