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Signs of Child Vision Problems

February 15, 2016

Everyone has a vision of what children’s eye problems look like according to WebMD – squinting, sitting too close to the television, rubbing their eyes. Yet sometimes there are no signs your child isn’t seeing well.

In the first few months of life, infants can only see clearly objects that are 8 to 10 inches from their face. It isn’t until 12 to 16 weeks that their eyesight begins improving, and they start seeing things more clearly and further away. Over the next year, children then develop depth perception, eye-body coordination, eye-hand coordination, and the ability to judge distances. Vision problems tend to emerge between 18 months and 4 years old. The American Optometric Association recommend a full screening at age 3.

Common concerns include a crossed or wandering eye, which troubles 3% to 5% of children. Symptoms include an eye that drifts or appears crossed in respect to the other eye. Uneven focus, where one eye is more farsighted than the other, affects 2% to 3% of kids. This vision problem is the hardest to detect, because young children don’t know their vision is compromised.

Warning signs and symptoms may eye problems include:

  • Eye rubbing
  • Tearing
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pus
  • Crust
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Bulging or jiggly eyes
  • Droopy eyelids
  • White, yellow, or gray-white material in the pupil

If your child has any of these symptoms, or their eyes change in any way, or you’re worried about their vision, don’t wait until they’re 3 years old to get that first vision test. According to the Alberta Association of Optometrists, 25 per cent of children begin grade one with an undiagnosed vision or eye health problem, which can interfere with their ability to learn during their first critical years in school.

Through the Eye See…Eye Learn® program, Doctors of Optometry detect, diagnose and treat eye health problems in children as they enter the school system. Alberta Health Care already covers the cost of comprehensive eye exams for all children in the province between the ages of 0 and 19. This program takes that one step further by providing free eyeglasses to kindergarten students who need a prescription.

To participate:

  1. Find a participating Doctor of Optometry near you and book your child’s appointment.
  2. Take your child in for a comprehensive eye examination, which is covered by Alberta Health Care. (Make sure you have your child’s Alberta health card with you).
  3. Kindergarten students will receive a free pair of eyeglasses, if required. The glasses are covered by a one year manufacturer’s warranty.

At Londonderry Eye Care, we understand the value of good vision – if your child performs poorly at school or exhibits a reading or learning disability, be sure to have his or her eyes examined by an eye doctor. To book an eye exam in Edmonton, call Londonderry Eye Care at 780–476-7631 today!