With a new school year comes new lessons, changes, and challenges. A potential challenge your child might face is undetected vision problems. Children may need glasses for a variety of reasons, not just to help improve their vision. Children may also need glasses to provide protection, improve the position of the eyes, or to help strengthen a lazy eye.
With August being Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, we thought we would break down everything you need to know about your child’s optical health, from signs that your child may need glasses, to what you can expect during their eye exam, and how often these exams are necessary.
Signs Your Child Needs Glasses
If your child shows any of these signs, it’s time to schedule an eye exam to see if they need glasses.
Squinting may temporarily improve the clarity of an image. If your child squints to be able to view images that others can see clearly by just looking, or if they have to sit at the front of the classroom just to read the board, then it may be time for an eye exam.
Rubbing Their Eyes Excessively
Rubbing eyes can indicate that your child is experiencing eye fatigue from straining to see all day.
Difficulty Concentrating in Class
When shifting from lesson to lesson, children often have to look from the board down to their notebook, textbook, or computers. When kids have problems with vision, the extra time it takes for the eyes to adapt between objects that are near to them or far from them may lead to distraction and a lack of focus.
Headaches or Eye Pain
If your child complains of frequent headaches or eye pain, it could be that they’ve had to overwork their eyes in order to view things more clearly. Glasses can allow the eyes to rest and can put an end to excessive headaches.
Viewing Screens Too Closely
If your child holds handheld devices up close to their face, or if they sit close up in front of the television, they may be showing signs of having poor vision. More specifically, people who are nearsighted need to view objects, signs, and screens closer in order to see them clearly.
Covering One Eye or Tilting Their Head
If your child has a lazy eye, you may notice that they’ll tilt their head or cover an eye to adjust the angle at which they’re viewing something.
What Children’s Eye Exams Include
While the processes may vary from eye doctor to eye doctor, you can generally expect your child’s eye exam to consist of the following tests:
A standard vision test uses an eye chart to assess your child’s vision and to determine if they are nearsighted or farsighted.
During a pupil test, light is flashed into the eye to examine how the pupil and eye responds.
Eye Movement Test
This test assesses your child’s peripheral vision through the use of an object being moved back and forth in front of their eyes.
For your child’s first eye exam, it is likely that their pupils will need to be temporarily dilated so that the optometrist can have a good look at their eyes. After the initial exam, it’s common to repeat the dilation process periodically to ensure that the eyes are staying healthy.
It’s normal for vision to change over time, so we use a device called SpotVision to screen your child’s vision at each well child visit. If your child needs glasses, it is recommended that they visit the eye doctor annually.
If you have any questions about your child’s vision problems, call HealthPark Pediatrics at (919) 896-7066 to make an appointment or talk to a team member.