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If you think your child may be having vision problems, schedule an appointment with an eye care professional.

Spot the Warning Signs

Although some conditions have no symptoms, watch for these early indicators of potential vision problems. Speak up if you see a child displaying these behaviors – more than 80 percent of a child’s ability to learn relies on visual processing.

  • Frequent rubbing or blinking of the eyes
  • Short attention span or daydreaming
  • Poor reading skills
  • Avoiding close-up work
  • Frequent headaches
  • A drop in scholastic or sports performance
  • Covering one eye
  • Tilting the head when reading
  • Squinting one or both eyes
  • Placing head close to book or desk when reading or writing
  • Difficulty remembering, identifying and reproducing basic geometric forms
  • Poor hand-eye coordination

What to expect at your child’s vision assessment

Your child’s age will determine which testing is appropriate, but most assessments include a case history, vision testing, testing of eye alignment and an eye health examination, followed by a consultation with you on the findings.

The American Optometric Association recommends that babies have their first eye exam at 6 months, followed by exams at age three and before starting first grade. Preschoolers are given a set of specialized tests made for kids who don’t know their letters or numbers yet.

After that the AOA calls for vision assessments every two years for school-age children, with yearly visits for kids who wear glasses or contacts.

Schedule your child’s testing for a happy, rested time of day. Before the day of your appointment, take time to observe so that you can report any concerns: Is she rubbing her eyes? Squinting? Having trouble with eye contact? Do his eyes track moving objects? You should also tell your optometrist about:

  • Family history of eye and vision problems
  • Prematurity or birth weight issues
  • Current medications and allergies
  • Previous vision diagnoses
  • Previous eye treatments, illnesses or surgeries