How to recognise eyesight problems in your child

Boy and his grandad both wearing glasses
Are you worried about your child's eyesight? We take a look at some common problems which may affect them and how you can spot the signs.

Did you know that 80 percent of what your son or daughter learns comes to them visually? Therefore, if they have difficulties seeing what's on the board at school they're far more likely to become frustrated with the whole learning process and consequently underperform.

But even if your child isn't experiencing problems at school there are still good reasons to go for an eye test. After-school team sports or playing in the backyard aren't as fun if you can't see the ball well!

Common problems

Some common childhood eye conditions are treatable if diagnosed at an early age but often these can stay undetected making matters worse. It is recommended that a child is taken for an eye examination by the age of three and every two years after this (unless your optometrist advises otherwise). In the UK children are entitled to free eye tests on the NHS.

Key signs that your child's eyesight may need checking

  • Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close
  • Losing their place while reading
  • Using a finger to follow along while reading
  • Squinting
  • Tilting the head to see better
  • Frequent rubbing their eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
  • Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as reading or homework, or distance vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities
  • Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
  • Avoiding using a computer because it hurts their eyes
  • Receiving lower grades than usual

Schedule an appointment with your eye care practitioner if your child exhibits the above signs. A visit with an optometrist may reveal that your child is nearsighted, farsighted or astigmatic – all of which can be easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses.