Signs your child may need glasses
Additional symptoms associated with vision loss include:
- Frequent headaches
- Excessive eye rubbing
- Holding a book or phone extremely close or far away
- Closing one eye to read
- Crossing, wandering, or squinting of the eyes
- Behavioral issues/inability to focus
- Poor grades at school
- Child complains that he/she has difficulty seeing the board
Although there may not always be a way to prevent vision loss, recognizing symptoms early can delay it or even avoid it altogether.
“Parents often ask me if sitting closer to the board, performing eye exercises or avoiding reading in the dark would help improve eye health. There really is no strong evidence to support this,” Weng said. However, she said there are several things anyone – adult or child – can do to prevent vision loss:
- Address any eye or vision problems immediately with your eye care provider – don’t ignore them.
- Visit your eye care provider on a regular basis – this may be the only way to detect conditions such as glaucoma, which is asymptomatic in its early stages and can lead to permanent vision loss if untreated.
- Avoid trauma to the eye—always wear eye protection during activities where there is a risk of eye injury.
“The best way to prevent or delay vision loss from happening is early detection,” she said.
If a child demonstrates any signs of vision loss, Weng suggests taking them to see an ophthalmologist for a complete eye examination. The sooner any eye issues are detected, the better the chance of salvaging or preserving good vision.
“It is critical that children receive eye screenings throughout childhood because different problems can arise at different ages. While the exact frequency of exams varies depending on an individual’s risk factors, the first screening should take place when the baby is a newborn. Subsequent exams are generally recommended at six to 12 months, three years of age, and then periodically throughout school age years. These evaluations can be performed by an ophthalmologist, optometrist or any skilled eye care provider trained in pediatric eye care,” she said.