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Recognizing the Signs of Bad Vision in Your Child

Like all good health practices, getting regular eye exams should begin early. In fact, newborns are screened for good eye health. But as your child grows older, how do you know that their eyes and vision are developing normally? How do you know if your child can see well? 

At Cooper Eye Care, our experts work with you to make sure your whole family has the eye care they need, including your children. In this post, we describe some of the signs and behaviors that may indicate your child may need corrective lenses. 

1. Don’t depend on eye screenings 

Your child’s pediatrician likely does vision screenings during regular checkups. These screenings are useful, but according to the American Optometric Association (AOA), they may miss as many as 60% of eye problems! The AOA says screenings can give parents a false sense of security when it comes to their child’s vision. 

In addition to regular screenings with the pediatrician, children between the ages of three and five years should have an in-person, comprehensive eye exam, performed by an expert. Even at such a young age, our experts can recognize problems, suggest treatments, and even prescribe corrective lenses if necessary. Unless your doctor says otherwise, your child’s next comprehensive eye exam should be prior to beginning school. 

2. Watch your child play

Toddlers and young children are developing critical skills, and you can learn quite a bit about their development by watching them play. Activities that may reveal vision issues include rolling a ball, stacking blocks, looking at books, pictures, or screens, as well as things like coloring and drawing. 

3. Choosing one eye

If you notice your child covering one eye or tilting their head, it may indicate an issue. Using one eye more than the other could be related to amblyopia, or lazy eye, which is one of the most common childhood vision disorders. If you notice your child consistently using one eye, schedule an appointment for an eye exam. 

4. Sitting too close

If your child sits too close to the television, or holds books too close to their face, or otherwise seems to need things very close to their eyes to see clearly, it could be an indication of nearsightedness. If you’re nearsighted, you can see things up close clearly, but struggle to see things that are farther away. 

5. Excessive eye-rubbing and headaches

Both frequent eye-rubbing and complaints of headaches or eye pain can be symptoms of vision problems. Eye-rubbing, headaches, and eye pain are all often associated with eye strain. If your child can’t see clearly, they may be straining to focus, which can cause pain. 

There are effective treatments for all of these problems, and the sooner your child’s vision issue is treated, the better the outcome. Clear vision allows for better development, good performance in school, and a more comfortable existence. 

If it’s time for your child to have a comprehensive eye exam, or you’ve noticed any of the signs of problems in this post, or you have questions about good eye health, book an appointment at Cooper Eye Care. We have offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and you can schedule at either location online or by phone. 

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