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9 Signs Your Child May Need to Visit the Eye Doctor

Children’s Ophthalmology focuses on diagnosing vision-related issues in children before any serious problems can develop.

Professionals recommend that children see an optometrist for their first eye exam at six months of age. They should return at three years old and have regular appointments once they start school.

Once they’re in school, about 80% of what children are learning is taught visually. Kids with visual impairments will naturally fall behind and have their intellectual development stunted.

As a parent, you play a huge role in your child’s potential for success. You purchase your child’s school supplies and feed them a healthy breakfast before school, but do you keep up with their eye health as you should? Some parents skip back-to-school eye exams, which, in turn, hurts the child. Remember, children can have visual impairments just like adults and need to visit an eye doctor regularly.

Annual visits prevent issues from developing in children and inhibiting their success in school, on the sport’s field, and in their everyday lives. The following are a few tell-tale signs that you should have your child’s eyes examined.

1. Headaches
If your child is reporting experiencing recurring headaches, it may be time to go to an ophthalmologist near you. Children with weak eyesight complain of headaches because they need to strain their eyes or squint to see. Squinting is a subconscious attempt to make the pupil smaller, which restricts the amount of light the eye receives. This restriction makes a blurred image slightly easier to understand.

If you notice your child squinting, take them in for an eye exam and glasses.

2. Poor Sports Performance, Clumsiness
If your child usually performs better in sports, maybe their clumsiness is because of a focus problem or a coordination problem. Taking them to an optometrist near you may help diagnose the root of the issue.

3. Poor Performance in School
If your child is exhibiting poor reading comprehension skills, disinterest in reading, or is easily distracted from reading, he or she may have some underlying vision issues.

4.  Sitting Too Close to the TV, Holding a Book Too Close
Kids who sit too close to the TV or hold their reading materials too closely may be experiencing difficulty seeing, specifically nearsightedness.

5. Sensitivity to Light
Children who experience sensitivity to light may also be experiencing corneal abrasions or meningitis and should visit their optometrist immediately.

6. Drainage from the Eyes
If your child experiences puss filled, yellow, or green drainage from their eyes, you may need to take them in for a check-up. Discharge and drainage from the eyes can be a sign of bacterial conjunctivitis or a bacterial infection in the eyes. This infection can have detrimental effects on vision if not treated properly in children.

7. Excessive Blinking or Rubbing of the Eyes
If you notice your child excessively rubbing his or her eyes and blinking, he or she may be experiencing minor eye problems.

8. Losing Their Place While Reading
If your child has trouble keeping his or her place while reading even while using a finger to track their place, schedule an eye exam because they may need eyeglasses.

9. A Crossed or Wandering Eye
A crossed or wandering eye appears in children as one of the eyes crossing in respect to the other eye, or one eye drifting away from the other. To determine if your child has a crossed or wandering eye schedule an eye exam.

If this condition goes untreated, the child’s regular eye will become the dominant eye, and the brain’s ability to receive messages from the crossed or affected eye will be hindered. This loss of vision in the affected eye can become permanent in older children, so it’s important to deal with this early on.

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