As an adult, you always notice changes in your body. Your joints might ache, you might notice your weight creeping up, or you might notice more frequent headaches. You can take action to get any abnormal changes addressed and hopefully continue on in good health.
Children do not have this same ability. They might struggle with a physical problem without even realizing there could be something better. A classic example is eyesight. Some children develop trouble with their eyes early on, and coping mechanisms become second nature to them as they try to make do with less-than-perfect vision.
However, early intervention for vision problems can help your child do better in school, be more socially aware, and even avoid injury. Plus, getting an issue assessed can sometimes reduce the damage done to the eyesight over time. Here are some signs of vision problems parents can look for.
Increased or Persistent Clumsiness
If your child is short or near sighted, they may not see obstacles in their path or perceive how close or far away they are. When running, you child might fall down more often, or run into things like walls and railings.
Astigmatism can also affect depth perception, which could translate to your child not being able to properly judge where something is. For example, they might miss a step going up the stairs or not be able to catch something that is thrown to them.
Complaints of Pain or Irritation
When your eyes are straining to see, the muscles around and in the eyes can become fatigued. Children might not know how to describe this discomfort or even what it is called, but you might hear your child complain about:
- Feeling tired even when they are well rested. They may enjoy closing their eyes and "resting" for several minutes.
- The sensation that something might in their eye. They might rub it more frequently to get relief.
- Itchiness. Eyes can feel more itchy when they are tired. Itchy eyes can also be a sign of allergies, but combined with other eye symptoms, you may want to address a vision problem as well.
- Headaches or general head pain. Squinting and straining to see can cause tension headaches. If headache complaints are frequent and not caused by illness or lack of fluids, it's a sign of vision trouble.
- Trouble seeing in bright light. Some kids may struggle adjusting to bright sunlight and complain the light hurts their eyes, even after the eyes should have adjusted.
If you're starting to notice a pattern, look for even more indicators, like pain occurring at the same time of day or after a certain activity.
Sitting Close or Holding Things Close
A common coping technique for poor vision is simply to bring things closer to the face. Your child might look very closely at books, always ask to sit closer when you go to the theater, or hold the tablet nearer than normal when playing games.
Lack of Attention
Sometimes, children who really have trouble seeing are used to not being able to take in details from the world around them. Instead of struggling to see with squinting and sitting close, they might simply find something else to do or look at that is easier on the eyes.
For example, if your child is in school and cannot see the board, they won't continue to stare at it. Instead, they might doodle on a paper, read a book at their desk, or even stare into space.
Childhood vision problems can be corrected with proper testing and fitting for glasses. Sometimes, vision problems might require some vision therapy to help strengthen the eyes. If you're concerned about your child, contact us at Sugarloaf EyeCare.