Of all the tests our children are given, from English to health, they are often overlooked when it comes to seriously testing their eyes.
If your child is having trouble learning in school or doesn’t enjoy reading or can’t sit still for a movie, doesn’t go out for sports or doesn’t seem to act or interact the way you think he should, it could be that his eye sight is not what it should be.
Other signs that he might need a more complete eye exam than his pediatrician or school nurse will give are these:
- Noticeable tearing or redness of the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Rubbing of the eyes
- Any ooze, crust or other materials around the eyes
- Refusal to try to read
- Poor performance when playing with a ball
- Showing anxiety or fear of people at a distance that he should recognize
It’s neither hard nor expensive to find out, once you find an optometrist who specializes in children. If you can’t find one near you, ask any optometrist where to look for one, or if they will refer you.
If you find your child does need help with his vision, a pediatric optometrist may offer vision therapy rather than glasses or other corrective options. Vision therapy can be anything from wearing a temporary patch to doing eye exercises.
A child’s eyes are still developing and the child’s brain is still learning to interpret signals coming from the eyes, so if there is even a slight problem, it should be monitored to see how or if it progresses. Some children “grow out of” minor sight problems, but not all do and any problem can progress quickly.
The human brain can learn to accommodate a variety of shortcomings and your child’s brain will learn to do that if his eyes are not working properly, so catching a vision problem early is important. If you notice anything that could be a problem at any age, have his eyes checked out.
The American Optometric Association points out that “Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life … academically … socially … and athletically. High-quality eye care can break down these barriers and help enable your children to reach their highest potential.”
In other words, kids who can’t see well can’t participate fully in life around them and will miss out on the things that enrich and encourage them.
It’s up to the parents to give their children every edge in life that they can, so we need to pay attention to our children’s sight and do what it takes to help them see the wonderful world they have been born in to.