Toddlers and young children learn a lot from the things that they observe happening around them on a daily basis, so great eyesight is very important to their development.
Young children often don’t even realise when there is a problem with their eyesight, which is why it’s so important that as a parent or carer you are wise to the signs and symptoms that could suggest that a child isn’t seeing quite as well as they should be.
If you notice a child displaying any of the following behaviours then a trip to the opticians may be on the cards to check their sight and eye health.
Poor eyesight that is not being corrected by glasses will cause the muscles at the back of the eyes to strain to try to correct the vision, causing headaches. Children do occasionally suffer from headaches, but if you notice headaches becoming more frequent then it could be caused by strained eyes.
Eye rubbing or blinking
If you notice a young child is rubbing their eyes or blinking excessively especially during times when they shouldn’t be tired then it could be down to eye strain caused by poor vision. This one can be a little trickier to identify as young children often get tired during the daytime, causing similar behaviours! Keep an eye on them and look out for red or watery eyes accompanying this behaviour.
Leaning in very close during activities
One tell-tale sign of poor eyesight that can be quite easy to spot is children leaning in very close during certain activities. This could be whilst drawing a picture or at bedtime when you’re reading them a story. If you feel like your child needs to get very close to the page to see what’s going on then try moving it further away and asking them questions about what they can see to test their vision.
Squinting or tilting head
Children that are having problems seeing may try to correct their vision by squinting, covering up one eye or tilting their head when trying to focus on things in the distance. This could be a sign that one of their eyes is weaker than the other.
Getting very close to the TV
Children love to plonk themselves right in front of the TV so don’t panic if you notice your child doing this! Encourage your child to sit further away at an acceptable distance, if they lose interest in what’s on TV or can’t answer questions about what’s happening on screen from a distance then it could be a sign that there is a problem.
Newborn babies will have their eyes and sight checked during routine health checks. It is also advised that young children should visit the opticians for the first time just before they start school. If you’re concerned that a child or toddler may be having problems with their eyes or vision at any time between these checks then it’s important to have it checked out so that if there are any problems they can be corrected as soon as possible.
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