August marked Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month (as well as it almost being time to go back to school!) and the World Health Organisation has found that 19 million* children in the world are visually impaired. Of this amount, 12 million are visually impaired due to refractive errors which can be easily diagnosed and corrected through a routine eye examination.
When it comes to children’s sight, early detection is key to ensuring that your child has the visual skills that they need to do well in school, sports and other activities. But, do you know how to spot the warning signs of vision loss in your child?
Here are 10 symptoms of poor eye health in children that you need to know
White reflections in the eye
In recent pictures, does your baby or toddler have a white reflection in one eye? You might also be able to notice this in a light or dark room. Seek immediate medical attention if so.
Misdirection of the eyes
One of your child’s eyes may turn inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards, while the other eye looks forward.
Sitting too close to the TV or digital devices
Does your child sit too close to the television or hold digital devices and books too close to their face? This is a sign that they could be short-sighted.
Closing or rubbing their eyes frequently
If your child rubbing their eyes frequently or closing one eye whilst trying to concentrate on an activity, they might be suffering from a vision problem.
Tilting their head or straining to see
Parents and teachers should look out for children who are tilting their head or squinting to see the board, watch television or tell the time.
Falling behind in school
If your child is falling behind in school, it could be because they’re struggling to see what the teacher writes on the board or read.
Sensitivity to light & excessive tearing
Are your child’s eyes sensitive light such as indoor light, sunshine and camera flashes? Light sensitivity is a symptom of several eye conditions.
Straining and squinting
Does your child complain of sore eyes after reading or watching television, or do they squint in order to see them? They may suffer from headaches, blurred and double vision as a result.
Closing one eye to read
Frequently closing one eye could indicate a refractive or binocular vision problem.
Avoiding activities which require the computer
Digital eye strain is common in children who use computers or digital devices they may avoid tasks such as homework.
If your child is suffering from any of the above symptoms then seek professional advice. Children often don’t realise that they are visually impaired or suffering from a refractive error so as their parent, carer or guardian it’s important that you remain vigilant when it comes to their eye health.
Your child should have an eye examination at six months old, then again by three and just before starting school at nearly five. School children need an eye exam every two years.