Does My Child Need Glasses?
In this article, we’ll be covering an issue that is commonly asked amongst parents, and can be a significant cause of stress.This issue is whether or not your child needs glasses. Although this is a relatively common issue, it can be no less stressful and confusing for both the parent and the child.
If you have found yourself wondering if your child needs glasses, many thoughts may have run through your head. What are the warning signs? Is this because my child needs glasses, or is it a more complicated vision issue? Can I take my child to get a vision screening to know for sure?
In this comprehensive guide, we will answer all these questions and more. We will give you the basics on glasses for children, and provide you with the tools to find the proper solutions to your problem. We’ll give you the top warning signs that a child may need glasses, and the proper steps you should follow if you suspect it might be an issue.
Why Do Children Wear Glasses?
Let’s start with the basics. Why are glasses so important? Although you may think the answer is obvious (to improve vision!) there are actually a few different reasons why a child may require glasses.
Improving a child’s vision is generally the most common reason why glasses are needed; however, glasses can help a variety of alignment issues with a child’s eyes. This includes strengthening vision in one eye in the case of “amblyopia” (commonly known as “lazy eye”) or correcting the position of the eyes if they are misaligned or cross-eyed.
The best thing that you can do as a parent is to be aware of the warning signs of vision issues so that you know when you may need to have your child’s eyes checked. If you are aware of the warning signs beforehand, you can act confidently and you can take proper steps to address the issue, should the situation arise.
Common Warning Signs That Your Child May Need Glasses
In this section, we will cover the most common warning signs that your child may require glasses. These signs are some of the most common indicators that a child should receive a vision screening.
Of course, your child may exhibit a combination of these warning signs, or only one. These signs may also be an indicator of a different vision issue altogether. For this reason, it is important that you seek the advice of a professional should your child experience any of the following issues. Diagnosing your child’s eye problem with a comprehensive vision exam from a professional is the only way to know for sure the proper way to proceed. Do not attempt to diagnose or treat the issue on your own.
That being said, let’s review the top warning signs that your child may need glasses:
Squinting is one of the most common symptoms of vision problems. Humans squint because it essentially reduces their field of vision. This causes what’s called “pinhole effect” which allows them to briefly clear up an otherwise blurred object, so that they can see it better. As a result, a child may squint because they are having difficulty seeing objects close up or far away. As a parent, you should get your child’s eye checked if they are squinting when focusing on something.
A common problem with vision is that one eye is “weaker” than the other. If your child is frequently covering one eye, then they are attempting to compensate for vision problems on their own. This may include turning the head or favoring their clearer eye. This may be a sign that you should have their eyes checked.
Holding Devices Too Close
Another common warning sign of a vision problem is that a child will hold things especially close to their face. Although this sometimes is a back habit in children, it may be another effort to compensate for the fact that they are having trouble seeing objects up close. Similarly, sometimes the child needs to generally get closer to the object before they can see it well. Objects that are too far away (commonly known as nearsightedness, or myopia). With nearsightedness, a child will have an easier time seeing objects closer to them.
Headache or Eye Pain
When eyes have trouble focusing, and vision becomes blurred, it can result in a strained experience that can lead to headaches and nausea. If you find that your child is experiencing frequent headaches, tired eyes, or fatigue when reading; a visit to an eye doctor is necessary. A professional will be able to tell you whether the headaches are visual in nature, or another issue altogether. Many times this can be associated with higher amounts of hyperopia, or “far sightedness.”
If your child is having difficulty concentrating on various activities that require precise sight and focus, then it may be a sign that their eyesight is responsible for your child’s difficulty. For example, if your child simply cannot concentrate on their reading materials, then it could be because they cannot properly see the material.
General clumsiness can be another sign of vision problems. The reason for this is pretty straightforward. If your child has trouble seeing, then they might have trouble orienting themselves and, in turn, have trouble performing routine tasks. If you think your child is less coordinated and more clumsy than usual, it might be time to have their vision checked.
A common result of vision problems is head tilting. Your child may tilt their head because their eyes have trouble orienting themselves when they are aligned in a certain direction. Tilting of the heads helps to compensate for the issues in alignment. The exact science is a bit complex to cover in this overview article, but just know that a head-tilt-for-focus is a common sign of vision issues.
Vision issues can also result in teary eyes. It is a common sign of various eye conditions, and is something you should look out for, especially if it is causing your child discomfort. This may also result in excessive eye-rubbing.
What Do I Do Next?
If your child is experiencing one or more of these issues, then it is probably time to take action. But sometimes it is unclear how to take action. In this section, we’ll examine the proper steps to take to get these problems addressed.
How to Get Your Child’s Eyes Checked?
If you are concerned about your child’s eyes, then the next course of action should be to have them examined. Of course, you might not always know where to go to make this happen. Getting a comprehensive vision exam by an optometrist is relatively easy.
An eye doctor will perform a more comprehensive eye exam than a simple vision screenings given in schools or pediatrician offices. They will be able to assess the vision problem, as well as your child’s overall eye health. Then, they can diagnose the problem, and take the necessary steps to correct the problem.
Of course, it is a good idea to have your child’s vision checked on a regular basis, regardless if they are displaying vision issues or not. Vision exams should be a routine part of children’s overall health check-ups. It is generally recommended for a child to have their first eye exam at around 6 months old. Then, assuming there aren’t any issues that require attention, they should have another vision check at age 3, and again at around 5 years old. Once a child is above this age, they should see an optometrist roughly once every year. It is important to stick to this schedule, as vision problems can develop slowly, without notice.
Remember, one of the most important things that you can do for your child if they are experiencing vision issues is to offer your support! It is often the case that children feel particularly self-conscious about getting glasses. It can be a difficult adjustment for kids, and it’s important that you offer them the support they need!
Reassure them that it is a perfectly normal process, and that they look great in the glasses! Often, the visual appearance of the glasses can upset a child even more than the actual vision problems. Involving them in the frame selection process can help with acceptance.
In this guide, we have shared with you the most common warning signs that your child may require glasses. Of course, these are just warning signs, and you will have to seek the opinion of a professional to know for sure. As is the case with any medical issue, do not attempt to diagnose the problem yourself, and seek the opinion of a professional if you are having any concerns.
An optometrist can properly diagnose and treat the issue, taking the steps necessary to get your child’s vision back to normal!