Signs of Possible Vision Problems

Question: My children always pass the vision screening at school. Beyond this, are there any signs of possible vision problems that I should be looking for? -- Seeing

Answer: Vision plays an extremely important role in childhood development academically, socially and athletically, according to Dr. Kara M. Cavuoto of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. She encourages parents to take advantage of any vision screening opportunities that may be available to them.

According to the Institute, parents should be aware that the following list of complaints and signs may indicate that a child has a problem affecting the eyes or vision:

  • -Does your child seem to have difficulty seeing objects that you or other children see well?
  • -Does your child hold objects close to the face when trying to focus or sit close to the television?
  • -Does your child have frequent headaches?
  • -Is there an unusual appearance to the eyes?
  • -Is there frequent blinking or eye rubbing, is there swelling or redness in one or both eyes?
  • -Is there unusual sensitivity to light?
  • -Does your child close or cover one eye?
  • -Do one or both eyelids droop, or does one eyelid tend to close?
  • -Is the iris (colored part of the eye) different in color in the two eyes?
  • -Do the eyes tend to "dance" or show to-and-fro movements (nystagmus)?
  • -Do the eyes appear to turn in, out, up or down, or tend to intermittently drift off center?
  • -Is there a head tilt or turn, particularly when concentrating on objects at a distance or near?
  • -Does your child complain of seeing double?
  • -Does your child lose his or her place when reading?
  • -Does your child have difficulty remembering what he or she reads?

Parents should keep vision in mind when equipping their children with all the necessary tools for a successful school year. If there is a family history of significant pediatric eye or vision disorders or a potential eye or vision problem is detected during a screening examination, the child is usually referred for a comprehensive eye examination by a pediatric ophthalmologist or an eye care specialist appropriately trained to evaluate and treat pediatric patients.