8 Early Signs of Child Vision Problems

While children rely on all their senses to learn, around 80% of what your child learns in school is taught visually: reading and writing, class participation, board work, and using computers are some of the most common, and most vital, tasks schoolchildren perform. Children’s eyes are constantly at work. And when their vision functions improperly, their performance in school and sports suffers.

If your child has vision problems, they will have a hard time keeping up with school work. Here are a few warning signs of child eye problems. Symptoms to look out for in your children’s behavior to detect early vision problems with your child include:

girl watching tv

1. Watching TV or Reading Books Too Closely

Contrary to popular belief, While watching TV or reading at a close range will not damage your vision, this could be a sign of an existing vision problem, such as nearsightedness.

If your child moves close to the TV or pulls their book closer to read and squints their eyes often to have a better view of objects, they could be nearsighted, however there is no evidence that these habits cause damage to children’s or adult’s eyes.

Children will tend to prefer close viewing because their young eyes are far better able to focus, and for far longer, than adult eyes before feeling the effects of eye strain.

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2. Frequent Eye Rubbing

Before you get worried, children can rub their eyes when they’re upset or tired. This is perfectly normal.

However, if you notice that your child rubs their eyes vigorously whenever they are trying to concentrate or while they are actively playing, it could indicate an underlying visual problem.

If the excessive eye rubbing persists even when your child is not tired or fatigued, then their eye fatigue may be being caused by a number of vision issues, including focusing and eye-teaming problems.

Because this symptom can also be due to a number of other conditions unrelated to eye-health (such as allergies), you should look out for at least one or two other symptoms, like poor grades or frequent headaches if you are trying to determine whether your child has a vision problem.

3. Losing Track While Reading or Using a Finger to Focus

finger reading

Typically, a child learning to read will use a finger to guide his or her eye along the page, but the impulse to do so holds for beginners of all ages. Any text written in script that is unfamiliar to us tends to be more difficult to "see" and follow.

A finger placed alongside or underneath the text, can aid beginning readers by focusing the eye on a single word or phrase at a time, and this really does help to ease eye strain and improve concentration.

As children become more experienced readers, most will gradually fall out of the habit of using a guiding finger because it no longer makes much of a difference. Children are also discouraged from continuing this practice for too long because it makes them appear "slow"-- like keeping your training wheels after you've already learned to ride a bicycle.

Note that it's perfectly normal for kids to track what they’re reading with their finger as they learn to read but they should eventually be comfortable to read without losing track as time goes by. If your child continues using their finger, ask them to read out loud without pointing. If they have trouble reading, it could be a vision problem.

4. Sensitivity to Light or Excessive Tearing

light sensitivity

If you notice that your child tears a lot, particularly due to indoor lighting, they could be suffering from light sensitivity, or photophobia.

Photophobia is not an eye disease, but a symptom of many conditions such as infection or inflammation that can irritate the eyes.

Children with extreme sensitivity to light can easily develop headaches and nausea. Light sensitivity can be a warning symptom of eye conditions.

Children with a lighter eye color also may experience more light sensitivity in environments such as bright sunlight, because darker-colored eyes contain more pigment to protect against harsh lighting.

Other common causes of photophobia include corneal abrasion, iritis and uveitis, burns to the eye, eye disease, injury, or infection (such as chalazion, episcleritis, glaucoma).

5. Closing One Eye to Watch or Read

Photo credit: bettervisionguide.com

Photo credit: bettervisionguide.com

When your child frequently closes one eye, it indicates that they could have a binocular vision problem that is interfering with the coordination of the two eyes working together. Closing one eye when reading can also indicate that one eye has a problem teaming with the other.

Generally, binocular vision issues are classified into three groups:

Accommodative insufficiency: the eyes are unable to focus properly at near distances which causes double vision.

Convergence insufficiency: when looking at things close up, like reading, the eyes are unable to work together or have issues teaming up.

Oculomotor dysfunction: not being able to read across a page due to the eyes’ inability to track or coordinate together.

6. Poor Grades

Photo credit: youngparents.com

Photo credit: youngparents.com

Vision and learning are closely related. For children to reach their full academic potential, good vision is important.

If your child can not clearly see what the teacher is writing on the board, they will perform poorly. Most of the time, children won’t mention their vision problems. This can result in a decrease in grades.

Children with binocular vision problems tend to feel fatigue and have headaches when reading and studying. They may also skip small words when reading, reread sentences and insert words that do not exist in the text.

If your child appears inattentive in class, avoids reading and studying, makes careless mistakes or has difficulty completing assignments, often this is through no fault of their own but instead an undiagnosed vision problem.

Sometimes all you need is a thorough eye exam to improve their ability to succeed in school.

7. Refuses to Use the Computer Because Their Eyes Hurt

Photo credit: hellodoktor.com

Photo credit: hellodoktor.com

It isn’t uncommon for kids today to be seen using tablets, smartphones, computers, and other digital devices. In fact, they’re probably getting more digital device time than most adults.

Part of the problem is that, in many cases, kids often use an adult’s computer, which isn’t usually well-suited for their size. Kids using an adult’s computer have a tough time getting the best viewing angle, which can result in digital eye strain.

Kids often make the mistake of holding their smartphone or tablet too close to their eyes. Doing this often can result in digital eye strain. To reduce strain on the eyes, a screen should be an arm’s length away from the eyes.

Children are more likely to deal with digital eye strain because they’re often unaware that they’re having problems. Kids may not realize how much time they spend looking at a screen, and they’re less likely to take breaks than adults.

Ensure that your child takes breaks after every 20 minutes for twenty seconds by looking at an object that is 20 feet away. If their eyes still hurt, it’s necessary that you take them to an optician.

8. Squinting and Tilting to Get A Better View

Photo credit: madeformums.com

Photo credit: madeformums.com

This behavior can be another indicator of the aforementioned binocular vision issues, as children attempt to offset undiagnosed vision problems.

Teachers should be on the look for children that often squint their eyes and tilt their heads to have a better view and pull them to the front.

As a parent, if you notice any of the signs mentioned above, ask your child’s teacher to observe on your child’s visual behavior while at school.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should bring your child in for an eye exam, but even if things seem outwardly normal, it is still good to have a first eye exams at before they they start school, generally at age 4 or 5.

If you notice any of the above signs, kindly let us know and we will be happy to help or advise.

Conjuctivitis (Pink Eye) —Diagnosis And Treatment

Technically, pink eye is the acute, contagious form of conjunctivitis – inflammation of the clear mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and overlies the white front surface of the eye, or sclera.

Bacterial infection causes the contagious form of conjunctivitis. However, the term “pink eye” is often used to refer to any or all types of conjunctivitis, not just its acute, contagious form.

Signs and Symptoms of Pink Eye

The hallmark sign of pink eye is a pink or reddish appearance to the eye due to inflammation and dilation of conjunctival blood vessels. Depending on the type of conjunctivitis, other signs and symptoms may include:

  • yellow or green mucous discharge

  • watery eyes, itchy eyes

  • sensitivity to light

  • pain.

How Can You Tell What Type of Pink Eye You Have?

The way your eyes feel will provide some clues:

Types of Conjuctivitis.jpg

Viral conjunctivitis usually causes excessive eye watering and a light discharge.

Bacterial conjunctivitis often causes a thick, sticky discharge, sometimes greenish.

Allergic conjunctivitis affects both eyes and causes itching and redness in the eyes and sometimes the nose, as well as excessive tearing.

Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) usually affects both eyes and causes contact lens intolerance, itching, a heavy discharge, tearing and red bumps on the underside of the eyelids.

To pinpoint the cause and then choose an appropriate treatment, your eye doctor will ask some questions, examine your eyes and possibly collect a sample on a swab to send out for analysis.

What Causes Pink Eye?

Though pink eye can affect people of any age, it is especially common among preschoolers and school children because of the amount of bacteria transferred among children.

Conjunctivitis may also be triggered by a virus, an allergic reaction (to dust, pollen, smoke, fumes or chemicals) or, in the case of giant papillary conjunctivitis, a foreign body on the eye, typically a contact lens.

Bacterial and viral infections elsewhere in the body may also induce conjunctivitis.

Treatment of Pink Eye

An Example of Allergic conjuctivitis

An Example of Allergic conjuctivitis

Avoidance

Your first line of defense is to avoid the cause of conjunctivitis, such as contaminated hand towels. Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, which can be caused by airborne sources, spread easily to others.

To avoid allergic conjunctivitis, keep windows and doors closed on days when the airborne pollen count is high. Dust and vacuum frequently to eliminate potential allergens in the home.

Stay in well­-ventilated areas if you're exposed to smoke, chemicals or fumes. If you do experience exposure to these substances, cold compresses over your closed eyes can be very soothing.

If you've developed giant papillary conjunctivitis, odds are that you're a contact lens wearer. You'll need to stop wearing your contact lenses, at least for a little while. Your eye doctor may also recommend that you switch to a different type of contact lens, to reduce the chance of the conjunctivitis coming back.

Medication

Unless there's some special reason to do so, eye doctors don't normally prescribe medication for viral conjunctivitis, because it usually clears up on its own within a few days.

Your eye doctor might prescribe an astringent to keep your eyes clean, to prevent a bacterial infection from starting. Another common prescription is for artificial tears, to relieve dryness and discomfort.

Antibiotic eyedrops or ointments will alleviate most forms of bacterial conjunctivitis, while antibiotic tablets are used for certain infections that originate elsewhere in the body.

Antihistamine allergy pills or eyedrops will help control allergic conjunctivitis symptoms. In addition, artificial tears provide comfort, but they also protect the eye's surface from allergens and dilute the allergens that are present in the tear film.

For giant papillary conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe eyedrops to reduce inflammation and itching.

Usually conjunctivitis is a minor eye infection. But sometimes it can develop into a more serious condition.

See your eye doctor for a diagnosis before using any eye drops in your medicine cabinet from previous infections or eye problems.

An example of viral conjunctivitis

An example of viral conjunctivitis

Prevention Tips

Because young children often are in close contact in day care centers and school rooms, it can be difficult to avoid the spread of bacteria causing pink eye. However, these tips can help concerned parents, day care workers and teachers reduce the possibility of a pink eye outbreak in institutional environments:

  • Adults in school and day care centers should wash their hands frequently and encourage children to do the same. Soap should always be available for hand washing.

  • Personal items, including hand towels, should never be shared at school or at home.

  • Encourage children to use tissues and cover their mouths and noses when they sneeze or cough.

  • Discourage eye rubbing and touching, to avoid spread of bacteria and viruses.

  • For about three to five days, children (and adults) diagnosed with pink eye should avoid crowded conditions where the infection could easily spread.

  • Use antiseptic and/or antibacterial solutions to clean and wipe surfaces that children or adults come in contact with, such as common toys, table tops, drinking fountains, sink/faucet handles, etc.

Kids’ Eyewear: What You Need to Know Before Buying

kids eyewear banner.jpg

Ever since Hollywood started casting young actors in eye glasses, many children have warmed up to wearing their specs. However…

Most parents do not know how to find the right eye glasses for their kids and most importantly, what to look for in kids’ eyewear.

From scratch resistant glasses to polycarbonate lenses and photochromic glasses, There’s a plethora of features to consider.

In this short guide, we are going to delve into the vital key factors that every parent/guardian needs to consider before buying kids’ eyewear.

 

 
 

Safety

Your number one priority is to ensure that your child’s eyes stay safe at all times.

You need to buy glasses that are tough, durable, naturally transparent, and can handle just about any of your child’s activities without breaking. Polycarbonate lenses are the best glasses for outgoing children.

Let your Child Choose

Children are more likely to wear glasses that they have specifically chosen for themselves without fuss. As a parent, you should let your child choose their eyewear.

If you’re sticking to a budget, you can pre-select a few pairs of glasses within your budget and let your child choose from your selection.

Consider Photochromic Lenses

Kids love wearing photochromic lenses, lenses that darken in bright light and brighten in the dark; most of the kids we ask think they’re super cool.

with photochromic lenses, children don’t have to change their glasses to do homework or when going outside to play, and they get to use the same pair, which is also more affordable.

Wear and Tear

Kid’s glasses are more exposed to wear and tear than adults’ eyewear.

kids eyewear infographic

To avoid having to buying your child a new pair too often, you should consider buying scratch-resistant glasses.

Again: durable, polycarbonate lenses are ideal; most are made with some form of coating, but to be on the safe side, you should buy lenses that you are certain have protective scratch-resistant coatings.

Nose Pads

Metallic glass frames or other materials may be uncomfortable for your child to wear. Silicone nose pads are very comfortable and can firmly hold the glasses in place even during vigorous activities.

If you are buying plastic frames, ensure that you consult with your optician to get them fitted with a silicone bridge.

kids eyewear 1

Consider Hypoallergenic Frames

If you must buy your child eye glasses with metal frames, consider whether the child reacts to certain metals like nickel and opt for hypoallergenic frames if necessary.

Cable Temples

If you’re buying eye glasses for a toddler who needs to wear them throughout the day, you need to buy glasses that have cable temples. Cable temples wrap around the head in order to hold the glasses in place.

Glasses with cables temples are not easy to put on and off. We recommend that you get your child normal glasses if they are allowed to take off their glasses during the day.

Go for Spring Hinges

Spring hinges are yank-proof and offer supreme for your child’s eyewear, making them more durable.

They safely allow the temples of the glasses to bend outwards when the child takes the glasses on and off without complications. The glasses will also be harder to break even when they’re mishandled.

Invest in a back-up pair

You never know, kids have a lot going on in their young world and can easily misplace their glasses or break them. It’s always important to have an extra pair.

 
kids eyewear
 

Now that you are well-informed about your childrens’ eyewear, you can always drop by our shop to browse our selections. We have amazing offers for kids’ eyewear.

You can also buy online from our store.

Please, feel free to consult with any of our skilled optometrists about your child’s eyewear.