As summer winds down, families of school-aged children scramble to get backpacks, clothes and other supplies ready for the new school year. But one of the most important yet often overlooked necessities is healthy vision.
As children grow and change from year to year, so do their eyes and vision. School demands intense visual involvement, including reading, writing, computer and chalkboard/smartboard work. Even physical education and sports require strong vision. If their eyes aren’t up to the task, a child may feel tired, have trouble concentrating, and have problems in school.
Sometimes parents can tell if their child has a vision problem. For instance, their child may squint, hold reading material very close to their face, or complain about things appearing blurry. However, there are some less obvious signs of vision problems.
Here are four signs that could point to possible vision problems in kids.
Having a short attention span.
Your child might seem to quickly lose interest in games, projects or activities that require using their eyes for an extended period of time.
Losing their place when reading.
As your child reads (aloud or silently), they may have difficulty seeing to keep track of where they are on the page.
Avoiding reading and other close activities.
Whether they are subtle or obvious about it, your child may choose to avoid reading, drawing, playing games or doing other projects that require focusing up close.
Turning their head to the side.
A child may turn their head to the side when looking at something in front of them. This may be a sign of a refractive error, including astigmatism. Turning their head helps the child see better.
Success in school is closely tied to eye health. That’s why it is so important for kids to have regular eye screenings with an ophthalmologist or another professional who is properly trained to assess vision in school-aged children. The earlier a vision problem is found and treated, the better off your child will be—in and out of school.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s vision, be sure to ask your child’s doctor.