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15 Warning Signs That Your Child May Have a Vision Problem

Pediatric Eye Exam, age 5

For the risk-free pediatric patient, the American Optometric Association recommends eye exams at age 6 months, age 3, and before starting first grade (and thereafter, every two years).

But do you suspect your child may have a vision problem? Here are 15 warning signs.


15 Warning Signs Your Child Might Have a Vision Problem

The following is a list of the most common warning signs seen in children with some type of vision disorder:

  1. Squinting – Squinting can be a sign of compensating for poor vision.
  2. Tilting Head – Tilting one’s head when reading can be a sign of muscle imbalance (strabismus) in the eyes.
  3. Sitting Too Close – If your child prefers to sit close to the TV, it could be a sign of nearsightedness.
  4. Loses Place When Reading – Skipping lines or losing place while reading can indicate a tracking problem or astigmatism.
  5. Covers or Shuts One Eye – Covering or shutting one eye can indicate a vision problem in one or both eyes.
  6. Rubbing Eyes – This is a sign of eye fatigue. If their eyes are getting tired, there could be a vision problem.
  7. Crossed or “Lazy Eye” – Eyes that do not work together can affect your child’s ability to read. Eyes need to work as a team.
  8. Frequent Headaches – Does your child complain of frontal headaches? The cause could be your child attempting to compensate for blurry vision.
  9. Sensitivity to Light – Sensitivity to light is a sign of exotropia (a type of strabismus).
  10. Easily Distracted – If your child is easily distracted in the classroom or has a difficult time paying attention, it could be a sign that your child cannot see their work and are therefore getting restless.
  11. Dislikes Reading – If your child dislikes reading or tries to avoid it all costs, it could indicate that reading is difficult due to a vision disorder.
  12. Low Comprehension – Do you think your child understands what he reads? Is he able to retrieve and remember what he has learned at school or just read?
  13. Errors When Copying – Have you noticed that your child makes many errors when copying from one page to another?
  14. Frequently Misses Small Words – If your child tends to skip smaller words when reading aloud (at, is, or, the, etc.), she may have a tracking problem.
  15. Prefers to Write Vertically – When writing solo, does your child prefer to write vertically (up and down) versus horizontally (across the page)?


Reference: Vision Source (a National Consortium of Independent Eye Doctors)