Many common pediatric vision issues such as astigmatism, lazy eye, amblyopia, retinoblastoma, or congenital glaucoma have plenty of indicators that are telling you it’s time to get an eye test for your young one. Here are a few signs that may tip you off.
- Not Tracking Objects– A baby learns much about their surroundings by simply watching. They are unable to move themselves when they are very young. So they must take in the stimulus visually to understand what is happening. However, babies who cannot see clearly have a more difficult time watching things move around them. If you are seeing this in your baby who is at least three months old, check with your pediatrician.
- Not Holding Eye Contact– Consult with your doctor if your baby will not hold eye contact with you or show recognition. One reason could be because your child can’t see you properly, but there are also a number of other conditions that could be causing this to happen.
- Eyes Crossing– This is a symptom that’s pretty easy to see. If you notice your baby’s eyes crossing or one eye drifting away from the other (after about four months of age), you may be dealing with a case of strabismus.
- Squinting– Squinting is an action everyone instinctively takes in order to either decrease the amount of light or intentionally blur one’s vision. To someone with sight conditions, blurring the image in front of them could actually attempt to make it clearer. This is most often the case in a person who has myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).
- Rubbing Eyes– Much like squinting, a child who rubs her eyes is sometimes trying to alter the images sent to the brain. If the image is blurry, it may become less so when rubbing the eyes , which stimulates water production. If a child is blinking excessively, that may be another clue that she is trying to clear her vision.
- Head Tilting– Head tilting isn’t a symptom most people think of when looking for eye problems. However, it can be an important indicator that your child’s eyes are not aligned properly. Misaligned eyes might not be sending clear images for the brain to interpret. When two different images are sent to the brain from the child’s two eyes, the brain must choose which one to believe. Over time, the brain will learn to favor one image (thus, one eye), and disregard the other. The disregarded eye could become a lazy or wandering eye.
- Cloudy Lenses– Cataracts are often associated more with aging than with young children. However, juvenile cataracts are a condition to watch for when assessing a child’s eye health. Noticing cloudiness covering one or both of your child’s eyes can help get to a diagnosis. A speedy diagnosis can then spur getting treatment quickly before more problems arise.
- Drooping eyelids– A condition called ptotis occurs when one or both of a person’s eyelids cannot stay completely open. It’s more than just a cosmetic problem, however. If an eyelid stays completely closed, the weight of it can cause the eyeball to become misshapen. If a mishapen eye continues to grow, it can lead to astigmatism or other vision problems.
- Light Sensitivity– A certain type of strabismus comes with a symptom of being sensitive to light. Overstimulation with light can also lead to headaches.
- Headaches, Dizziness, or Nausea- When your brain is working overtime distinguishing images that are not delivered properly from the eyes, it can rebel. A headache is the body’s way of saying “I’ve had enough of dealing with this!” Similarly, dizziness and nausea can be trying to tell you something. The key is finding out what that something is. Starting with an eye test is a step in the right direction.
- Trouble in School– Inability to see the board, read a textbook, or write legibly indicates that the child’s vision isn’t keeping up. His eye growth is unable to sustain his lifestyle. Because eyes continue to mature with a child, seeing these types of school problems can indicate a need for glasses.
- Pain– Anytime your child is experiencing pain in their eye or eyes, their physician should be notified. Something lodged in the eye can result in vision loss if it’s left untreated.
Your next step is to download the Kids Vision Check app, even if your child has not vocalized complaints about these symptoms. With a simple picture on your phone, you can obtain evidence that could prompt a vision check. With this app you can contribute to your child’s vision health that could save their eyesight.