Vision problems are quite frequent with children, but they won’t always know when or how to complain. So, how will you know when to react? Here are some signs that your children are experiencing eyesight issues and advice on what to do about it.

Babies

babies
When babies are over three months old, they should be able to make eye contact and follow an object, such as a toy, with their eyes. If you notice this is not the case with your child, visit their doctor and ask what to do about it. Also, if your baby is four months or older and you notice one of their eyes drifting inwards or outwards in respect to the other eye, it’s time to ask for professional advice. And even if you believe there’s nothing wrong with their vision, in order to be on the safe side, their first eye exam should be performed at six months of age.

Toddlers

toddler
Problems with vision usually appear between 18 months and 4 years of age, and this is when you need to pay most attention to your children’s behavior. If you notice they rub their eyes even when they’re not sleepy, if they tilt their head while watching TV or looking at something, or if they squint, those are probably signs of vision problems. When it comes to toddlers, there are two most common vision issues – first, their eyes become crossed or wandering, and second, they are unevenly focused. The former is usually easy to catch, but uneven focus isn’t. Often, your child won’t even notice it, because they don’t know what it is like to see well. They will perceive their problems as a normal state. In both cases, children will have one stronger eye, which will see or focus better and become dominant after a while. Unless they receive treatment for these two conditions, the other eye’s vision will be compromised, which is called a lazy eye. Luckily, you can stop and reverse your child’s lazy eye by treating it with eye patches, eyedrops or contact lenses. Have your kids’ vision screened by the family doctor, or even a specialist and do it as soon as possible, no later than the age of three. Do it even if you don’t notice any symptoms, just in case.

Preschool and grade-school children

preschool
At this age, the child will be able to complain if they feel something’s bothering them. If they have blurred or double vision or they experience sensitivity to light, they will probably tell you about it. However, they won’t always be aware of the problem. So, if they blink or squint often, if they hold their books too close to their eyes and follow the lines with their finger while reading, if they move to sit too close to the TV or a computer, if they complain about headaches or eye discomfort, take these signs seriously and react on time. Also, you should pay attention to how they walk or run. If you see them bumping into objects or frequently stumble over the stairs or uneven ground, this may also be a signal it’s time to check their vision. Your child may need glasses. And if they don’t like wearing them, which is sometimes the case, you can easily buy them quality contact lenses online. Of course, before doing anything, talk to an expert.

Teenagers

teen
The most common vision problems among teenagers include dry eye syndrome, UV light damage and short-sightedness, also known as myopia. Dry eye syndrome occurs when tears can’t keep the eye lubricated. This could be caused by environmental problems, but also by spending too much time in front of the screen. Fortunately, there are gels, drops and artificial tears which can help resolve the problem, but the safest thing you can do is consult a doctor. UV light damage happens when the eyes are overexposed to daylight, although it doesn’t only happen outdoors. Your teenager may experience headaches, eye pain, light sensitivity and redness. Sunglasses may be an effective preventive measure, but see a specialist if you notice any of the mentioned symptoms in your child. Myopia is usually discovered between the age of eight and twelve. It basically means they can’t see things clearly, especially objects which are far from them. Your teenagers could notice the problems themselves, but you should pay attention, too. They will often squint, move closer to what they’re looking at and complain about headaches. Have their eyes checked, for they might need glasses or contact lenses.

As a parent, it’s your job to keep track of anything out of the ordinary, including issues with your children’s eyesight. Be observant and react as soon as you notice something’s wrong to avoid more serious vision problems.

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