Toddlers accept the world into which they’re born, whether it appears to them as clear as a snapshot or as murky as if viewed through rain-drenched glass. It’s our job as parents to rely on a toddler’s non-verbal clues as indications that something may be awry. When it comes to vision, squinting isn’t the only way to tell that your child may not be eagle-eyed. Check out these five subtle signs that your preschooler may need glasses.
Too Close For Comfort
What toddler isn’t attracted to the flashing lights, bright colors, and noise of a television or computer screen? But if you notice that your child also holds a book close to her face, leans over her tablet to play a game, poises inches above the paper on which she’s coloring, or squints when you point out a distant object, a trip to the pediatric ophthalmologist may be in order to rule out nearsightedness.
People with astigmatism can’t see clearly both far and near, because part of the image is focused on one place in the retina and part on another. This vision issue is often identified in older children who know how to read, but need a finger as a guide or frequently lose their place. Toddlers tend to adjust by closing or covering one eye so they can see their world more clearly.
There’s The Rub
Children with allergies rub their eyes to redness during the pollen season, but frequent rubbing of the eyes can also be a sign of eye strain. Spending long hours trying to focus can have real physical effects on your toddler. A nearsighted or farsighted child squints because he’s trying to change the refraction of the light to focus it in the middle of his retina, which can cause headaches or muscle aches in the brow area.
Bumps And Bruises
A child who frequently runs into objects may just be adjusting to his or her ever-changing body, but this behavior could also be a sign of vision impairment. Play “I Spy” on objects both near and far to determine whether your child is seeing exactly what you’re seeing.
Keeping Up With The Joneses
How can a toddler learn his colors, letters, or numbers if they’re always blurry? How can a kindergartner remember his homework when he can’t see the chalkboard? Although vision issues are rarely at the root of a learning disability, a trip to a pediatric ophthalmologist is a quick and easy way to rule out any vision-related learning problems.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that vision screening be done during your child’s yearly visit to the pediatrician. If you have a family history of vision problems or have concerns about your baby’s eyesight, see a pediatric ophthalmologist. Intervention with children as early as six months old can correct a variety of vision problems long before they become serious.