Does your child need glasses? It’s worth checking out. Poor vision can affect your child’s school performance (how can he understand the lesson if he can’t see what’s on the blackboard?) and make reading so uncomfortable that he avoids it altogether. It can also
cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Schedule a trip to the optometrist if you notice these symptoms.
1. Does he tilt his head?
Your child may have weaker vision in one eye, so he ‘favors’ the other one. Tilting can also be a sign of muscle imbalance: he gets double vision if he looks down or at a particular direction.
2. Does he bend forward when he watches TV or reads a book?
This is a good sign that your child is nearsighted. He can’t see objects that are far away, and compensates by moving forward. That’s why some kids do better when they sit in front of the classroom. They’re not ‘better behaved’ because the teacher keeps a closer eye on them—it’s just easier for them to read the board, so they take notes faster.
3. Does he rub his eyes a lot?
Nearly all children who have vision problems will rub their eyes. The constant strain on their eyes leads to dryness and irritation.
4. Does he squint a lot?
When your child squints, he’s instinctively trying to compensate for blurred vision. His eyelids act like a pinhole, reducing the size of the image on the back of the retina.
5. Does he have trouble reading?
Your child may have trouble seeing the letters, and may frequently lose his place in a paragraph—which leads to the habit of using his fingers to point to the sentence he’s on. Fingerpointing can also be a sign of amblyopic eyes: letters tend to look ‘crowded’ and jumbled up.
Also look out for a discrepancy in your child’s reading level at home, and his reading level in school. If your child can confidently recite his Dr. Seuss at bedtime, but then interchange letters when he’s in school, he could be near-sighted. If he’s far-sighted, he has no problem reading things from the blackboard, but struggles when he’s asked to use a book.
6. Are his eyes always watery?
Kids who suffer form lag opthalmus don’t close their eyelids completely when they sleep. The eye dries out, and then compensates by producing too much liquid during the daytime. This can cause vision problems.
7. Is he sensitive to light?
If your child has exotropia he is extremely light sensitive. He may squint when he’s playing outdoors, or have trouble recognizing people while he’s walking in the street.
8. Does he have trouble with ball sports?
He can’t seem to catch a ball, and often misses an ‘easy throw’ by several inches. The problem could be depth perception. Other signs include clumsiness (he bumps into objects, or trips when he walks down the stairs).
9. Does he complain of headaches?
All vision problems, when uncorrected, can lead to eyestrain. This will trigger headaches, which usually occur at the end of the day or after reading, using the computer, or watching television. The next time your child complains, ask him to point to where it hurts the most: near the forehead, at the base of the neck, or all over. Eye-related problems will usually lead to frontal headaches.