Eye Health for your Child

Last week we took the kids for their first eye appointments. It is usually recommended that you start taking your children in for yearly appointments when they are two. We waited until Jack was four and the girls were two. We had talked about taking him for the last two years, but it just never happened. If we had thought he had problems seeing, we obviously would have booked him earlier. But he was able to point at things far away. He was able to recognize letters up close. As individuals who know nothing about optometrics, we figured he was fine.

Turns out, Jack needs glasses for focusing on things close up. Oops. I’m not sure how long he’s needed them, but it’s probably been for a while. Jarrett and I felt really bad when we realized that we screwed up in not taking him to his first eye appointment when he turned two. We thought he was fine, but looking back, there were definitely warning signs we didn’t pick up on.

For one thing, he would have a hard time picking out smaller lowercase vowels. He would consistently mix up lowercase letters, like a, e, and o. Which now makes sense if he was having problems seeing those letters. He would also brush off doing workbooks and other detailed work only after a few minutes. We usually did that work later in the evening once the girls are in bed, and I figured he was tired. Turns out he didn’t want to do it because he couldn’t see very well.

We have another appointment in a week to get a more accurate reading on what his prescription is, and then we’ll be able to get our new glasses! I’ll let you know how it goes!

So, lesson learned. Take your children in for eye appointments when they turn two. If you can. I also found a list of things to look for to see if your child may need glasses from John Hopkins Medicine.

Signs Your Child Might Need Glasses

Here are a few signs that indicate your child may be experiencing vision problems and need glasses:

  • Squinting. Squinting may be a sign that your child has a refractive error, which affects how well the eyes focus on an image. By squinting, your child may be able to temporarily improve the focus and clarity of an object.
  • Tilting head or covering one eye. Your child might cover one eye or tilt his or her head to adjust the angle of vision in an attempt to increase clarity. This might be an indication that the eyes are misaligned or that your child has amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, which is one of the most common eye disorders in children.
  • Sitting too close to the television or holding hand-held devices too close to the eyes. Sitting too close to the television, holding hand-held devices too close to the eyes or lowering the head while reading are all possible signs of poor vision. People who have myopia, or nearsightedness, have clear vision at close range and poorer vision at a distance. Bringing an object closer makes an image bigger and clearer.
  • Rubbing eyes excessively. Excessive eye rubbing may indicate that your child is experiencing eye fatigue or strain. This could be a sign of many types of vision problems and conditions, including allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Complaining of headaches or eye pain. If your child complains about eye pain or headaches at the end of the day, he or she may be overexerting the eyes in an effort to increase focus of blurred vision.
  • Having difficulty concentrating on school work. Because children need to quickly and accurately adapt their visual focus from distant to near and on a number of different objects ranging from chalkboards and computers to textbooks and tablets, vision problems may manifest as a lack of focus on schoolwork.



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