Knowing when your child is sleepy, hungry, or even coming down with a bug is pretty easy. Most parents can even predict behavior and preferences as well as anticipate their children's needs. But how do you know if your child's vision needs correcting? Kids go for well-child exams, immunizations and sick visits but do not routinely go for eye exams. Studies estimate that 25-30% of school age children in the U.S.A. have an uncorrected vision problem.
How do I know if my child needs an eye exam?
A child does not always realize that his or her vision could be improved. Their blurry world and fuzzy edges are their norm. Not realizing that a world of crisp images exists, they may not complain of a problem. As far as they know, everybody sees everything the way they do. School screenings aren't always indicative of a need for correction either. As one child stated, “I just memorized the chart because I was afraid of getting it wrong.” The professionals are passionate about what they do, and want to help assure that your child gets correction if needed. Here are three “P”s to look for when considering your child's visual acuity.
Does your child complain of headaches, eyes burning or hurting? Do you observe eyes watering, redness, or squinting? Does your child rub his eyes for no apparent reason? These are physical signs that your child may be straining to see. These signs might be attributed to heat, wind, perspiration, bright light, or fatigue. Be sure that it is not due to poor acuity.
Is your child sitting too close to the television? Does your preschooler hold toys right up to his nose? If your child is positioning things in his environment closer to his face, it could be a sign of a vision problem.
Studies indicate that greater than 75% of what children learn comes through their eyes. It is also a vital part of coordination and physical play. Is your child struggling at school, or even on the playground? Complaints about hating school could possibly be due to a visual problem. It's difficult to succeed when you are sitting at the back of the class, straining to see the teacher's presentation. Poor performance can be a sign of uncorrected vision.
If you think that your child might be experiencing a vision problem, seek help with an optometry professional near you. Do some research and find one that enjoys working with children and has positive reviews.