Focus on Vision Health: Signs Your Child or Teen May Be Experiencing Vision Problems
Believe it or not, we’re already almost halfway through the summer. It won’t be long before parents of school-aged kids begin to prepare for the next year – hopefully a year of more traditional, in-person learning than we’ve seen during the COVID pandemic.
It is getting close to the back-to-school season. There is a lot of prep to get the kids ready – purchasing supplies, clothes, and annual wellness visits – including sports physicals. We at Rainbow Pediatrics want to remind parents to focus on one critical yet often overlooked aspect of their child’s (or children’s) health: optimal vision.
As children of all ages grow and mature, so do their eyes and their vision. And, as school approaches, new and unaddressed vision problems can become magnified, turning into classroom stress, homework frustration, and perceived learning disabilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly 7 percent of American children 18 and younger having a diagnosed eye or vision condition. Therefore, parents and guardians need to remain aware of the signs of vision problems so they can be addressed quickly and effectively before they become more significant issues.
To help, we at Rainbow Pediatrics have compiled a list of signs your child or teen may be experiencing issues with their vision. If you notice one or more of the following, contact our pediatric team for a personal consult or schedule a visit with your optometrist or ophthalmologist:
Blinking or Rubbing the Eyes
Continual blinking or rubbing the eyes can indicate several things: allergies, a foreign substance or object in the eye, a habitual tic, or possibly eye fatigue due to the existence of a refractive error, such as nearsightedness.
Headaches or Eye Pain
This can also signify that your child is overexerting the muscles around their eyes throughout the day to try and see things more clearly. Lots of eye rubbing often accompany headaches and eye pain.
Squinting can be a way for a child to improve the focus or clarity in their vision temporarily. Regular squinting when reading or attempting to see things at longer distances can also be a sign of a refractive error.
Tilting Head or Covering One Eye
Like squinting, continually adjusting the angle of their vision can also be an attempt from your child to improve clarity in their vision. Such attempts can be a sign that your child’s eyes are misaligned, or they have amblyopia, or a lazy eye, one of the most common disorders in children.
Sitting too Close to Screens, Books, Etc.
This may be an obvious sign, but it can easily be overlooked as a childhood quirk. A child with nearsightedness can see things best when they’re up close, so take notice if/when your child holds handheld devices close to their face, drastically lowers their heads to the pages when reading, or continually scoots up close to the screen during family TV night.
A Lack of Focus
Especially in school, kids are constantly having to adapt their focus and attention to items both distant and near, often going from the textbook to the whiteboard and back to a computer screen in a matter of seconds. The continual shifting can be exhausting for kids with vision problems, which can cause them to lose focus and concentration during class and homework regularly.
Poor Motor Skills
Okay, so some kids simply have better hand-eye coordination than others. But if you notice poor motor skills, a lack of coordination, or clumsiness comes and any of the other issues listed above, it could be a sign of poor vision.
Again, if you notice signs such as those listed above or if your child is struggling with coordination, behavior, or ability to learn, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with the Rainbow Pediatrics team in our Fayetteville, Hope Mills, and Raeford clinics.
During the appointment, we’ll help determine the cause of your child’s issues as well as a path forward toward improvement and optimal wellness!