Very young children usually are not aware that they have eyesight problem. Unfortunately, it is also difficult for parents to tell if their children’s visions are not normal. Here are some signs to help parents detecting any potential vision problem in their toddler.
Excessive clumsiness. It is normal for toddlers to be clumsy. However, if your child keeps on stumbling on things or shows any signs of over clumsiness, you should check with your doctor. It could be symptom that your child cannot see clearly.
Bring objects closer to the eyes. If your child tries to get closer to the screen when watching TV or hold the books very close to the eyes when reading, vision problem is very likely. Children with vision problem will usually avoid activities that require distant viewing of objects (for example birds watching).
Inability to recognize people or object. Inability to recognize object or people from a distance could be symptom of nearsighted eyes. The child will also has difficulty finding or picking up small objects,
Over sensitivity to light. Children with eyesight problem tend to squint frequently, in particular when a light is turn on in a previously dark or dim-lit room.
Difficulty in following objects or people. Children can already follow objects across their field of vision since they are three years old. You can do a simple test by asking your kid to identify approaching object (a big red truck or a pink bicycle for example) while walking down the street. If your child has difficulty in recognizing or following the object as it moves, check with your doctor.
Constant Eye-rubbing and frequent blinking. Children usually rub their eyes only when they are sleepy but children with eyesight problem rub their eyes almost all the time. This is because their eyes are burning or itchy.
Watery eyes. Parents should observe whether their toddlers tear excessively or frequently blinking with no reason. Watery eyes accompanied by yellow or green discharge are symptoms of eye infection.
Head tilting. Frequent tilting of the head to one side or in unusual position while trying to focus, to see a picture in a book for example, is a sign of potential eyesight problem. The covering of one eyes repeatedly in apparent discomfort or using only one eye while observing objects or watching television is also warning sign that should be noted.
Abnormal appearance of the eyes. Misaligned eyes after six months of age (which is sign of strabismus), eyes that don’t focus, don’t move in unison or look crossed, unequal pupils, white-colored pupils, crusting of eyes, swollen lids, drooping eyelids, difficulty in making eye contact are warning signs parents should be aware of.
Unusual eye movement. Bouncy or bulging eyes, eyes that dance rapidly up and down or side to side,
Complaint of eye pain. Older children may be able to tell their parents or caregivers if they suffer headache, double vision, dizziness or eye pain, itchiness and other discomforts. Redness that persists after few days may be sign of a more serious problem.
Family history. Children whose family members have childhood vision problems are more likely to have the same problem.
If vision problems are suspected, parents should have their toddler’s eyes throughoutly examined by eye care professional as soon as possible.