With 4 of our 7 kids in glasses, you would think I would’ve had our little guy, Seth, to the optometrist by his 1st birthday. But I didn’t.
Fortunately, our pediatrician suggested we get Seth’s eyes checked at his 2-year well-child visit.
We’d seen some of the signs and symptoms: head tilting (chin to chest) while focusing on something or someone across the room, and watery eyes during story book time. But when he started wearing Mama’s reading glasses to look at his favorite picture books, we knew our doctor was on to something.
Because young children’s lenses are extremely flexible, their eyes can adapt and make up for many diopters of refractive error. As a new mom 20+ years ago, I would’ve never considered taking in a pre-reader for an eye exam, because I thought they would need to read the letter chart. That is not so; a skilled pediatric optometrist can accurately prescribe eyeglasses using dilation drops and then placing corrective lenses in front of the eyes. Seth didn’t care much for the exam, but it was quick and needful.
Listed below are signs that may indicate a vision problem. While some of these may seem obvious, it is surprising how easy it can be to overlook the more subtle signs during the busyness of life.
- Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close
- Tilting their head
- Frequently rubbing their eyes
- Short attention span for the child’s age
- Turning of an eye in or out
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing ball or bike riding
- Avoiding coloring activities, puzzles and other detailed activities
- Accident-prone, as in often walking into corners of walls or furniture
- In older children, complaints of tired eyes or saying, “I think I need glasses.”
- Learning difficulties in school
If you have a strong family history of vision problems or you suspect a problem, it is a good idea to get your children to an optometrist earlier versus later. Two weeks after bringing home his new glasses, Seth is starting to take them off less often and prefers to keep them on for close-up work. Tonight was the first night I had to take them off for him before he went to bed.
He is pictured below getting a good look at Rex and Woody for the first time. The ability to see clearly and see well – what a blessing!