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Does my child need an eye exam?

It’s hard to determine sometimes if your child is in need of an eye exam. One of the problems with kids and eye issues is that they may not tell you if they have a problem with their vision–they may be too young to realize, or they may not want you to know because they don’t completely understand. 

Also, some children don’t want to wear glasses for fear of being teased at school, so they may deny any issues. Although the style of children’s glasses has certainly improved over the past few years, there still can be some stigma attached to wearing them and kids can be cruel (as many of us remember from our school days).

If you are concerned about eye issues in your children, here are some signs to look out for in deciding if your child needs to have an eye test:

Listen to what your child tells you: This may not always be the most reliable method of finding out if you child needs glasses as they may hide their poor vision. On the other hand, some children may actually try and pretend that they need glasses because they think it’s cool or their friends wear them. Optometrists have ways of checking if your child is pretending, so you don’t need to worry!

Your child squints their eyes: If you see your child squinting regularly when trying to look at something, this almost certainly means they are short sighted.

Your child complains of headaches: Frontal and temporal headaches are one of the biggest signs that your child may need spectacles. Headaches are most likely to occur when your child is spending a lot of time on the computer–hopefully doing their homework, but probably more likely to be on Facebook!

Your child’s eye points in or out: If you ever notice your child’s eye turning in or out, then you need to take them for an eye test immediately as it may mean they have a lazy eye.

Your child covers one eye when looking at things: Your child may well be covering a weakness in that particular eye which will need checking out.

It can be difficult for parents to know if a child has a problem with their vision. This is especially the case if the kid has one perfect eye and one weaker eye because he or she will pretty much function normally and there may be no clues or signs.

Routine eye exams are a must, regardless of whether or not your feel your child has any problems. Most Optometrists will see children as young as three years old and they do not have to know their alphabet to be able to have their eyes tested. If your child ends up having problems with their vision such as a lazy eye, the earlier it is picked up the more likely it can be treated.

If your child hasn’t had an eye test then they should be tested, especially at school age. Regardless of whether or not you think your child has issues, get them checked out anyway to provide a clean bill of health or catch issues early. Few people need to go through their entire lives nowadays wearing glasses. Contact lenses and laser eye surgery are becoming more popular and may be options for your child as they get older.

[author] [author_info]About the Author

Tim Harwood is an Optometrist from the UK specializing in laser eye surgery and patient education. He also writes on his website, Treatmentsaver, which provides information on eye health and laser correction.

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Image Credit: Luke Davison

This post was written by a guest writer for Prime Parents Club. We are not currently taking new guest writers.

3 Comments

  1. 40MomsClub

    February 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Does my child need an eye exam? http://www.40momsclub.com/2011/02/22/doe… #health #eyes #kids #40MC

  2. christin

    February 22, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Great article. I will never forget they day I was told that my 8 y/o needed glasses! I thought she was faking during the eye exam because she had been admiring glasses in the waiting room. The technician assured me that they could tell she was not faking…I felt terrible. After 1-1/2 years with those glasses her eyes changed again and she needed a new prescription. I am on top of it now with regular exams for all of three of my daughters.

  3. Jacqueline W.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:23 am

    You know, I never thought about a toddler/preschool not knowing their alphabet and needing an eye exam. I’m glad you said they don’t need to know it in order to get an exam.

    Good info and great tips to watch for. Thanks.