Squinting, sitting too close to the television and holding books close to the face are a few obvious signs that a child is having trouble with their vision. Unfortunately, these signs are not always present if a child has difficulty seeing, so there are some other important red flags to watch out for.
Vision problems in infants under 18 months of age are rare, but babies should still take a vision exam to rule out any issues. While many babies’ eyes may look unfocused up to about four months of age, any sign of recurring wandering eyes or inability to track an object in their field of vision after reaching this stage should be checked by a doctor.
Children 18 months to 4 years old should be monitored closely for potential vision problems as this is the age in which most issues develop. The two most common problems at this stage are drifting, or crossed eyes, and uneven focus. Although the first issue is visible, uneven focus can be difficult for a parent to notice.
If a child is used to having trouble seeing with one eye, they’re often not aware they have a problem and likely will not say anything about it. Commonly known as a “lazy eye,” a child’s brain will learn to rely on the dominant eye. By the age of 9, this overcompensation is usually permanent. If caught early, the problem can be corrected. It’s absolutely vital that preschool-aged children take a vision exam to prevent permanent damage.
Other symptoms that should be reported to an eye health provider include:
- **Bulging eyes
- **Redness or other discoloration that lasts more than a couple of days
- **Continuously watery eyes
- **Complaints of pain or constant irritation
- **Eyes that are light sensitive
- **Any concerns a parent may have
Add optomap® to your comprehensive eye exams for children. Because optomap retinal images do not require dilation, children generally respond much better to optomap imaging over a DFE. Contact us today to learn how we can help treat your young patients.
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