When it comes to school, parents may gauge their children’s success through their grades. It might be easy to assume that if a child fails a test, it is because they did not study or were not paying attention during class. However, there are other reasons that a child may not be performing well in school – one of which could be their vision.
Roughly 6.8% of children under 18 years of age in the United States have been diagnosed with an eye or vision condition. Unfortunately, 61% of children found to have eye issues through vision screenings never visit the eye doctor. Vision problems – such as keratoconus or nearsightedness – can present in different ways and are often misdiagnosed. Regular comprehensive eye exams are a great way to monitor your child for these types of vision issues.
Some obvious signs may indicate that your son or daughter is suffering from an eye issue. Keep reading for some signs to watch for and to understand the importance of scheduling yearly eye exams. We’re also sharing some advice on what to do if any of your loved ones are presenting symptoms of struggling with a vision issue.
Signs to Watch for That May Indicate a Vision Issue
It’s not always easy to tell if your child has a vision issue, as they may not be aware that they are experiencing anything out of the ordinary. Below are a few signs that may indicate that your son or daughter is struggling with their vision.
- Difficulty Seeing the White Board or Blackboard: Ask your directly child if he or she can see the whiteboard or blackboard at school. Otherwise, if they are struggling to see it, you may not even know!
- Headaches: Headaches can indicate a vision or eye issue, such as keratoconus. Make sure to listen if your child mentions he or she is experiencing this symptom and make an appointment with a physician to discuss potential causes and treatments.
- Struggling to Complete Assignments: One reason that your child may have difficulty completing a school assignment, project, or homework could be that they cannot properly read the material. If you find your child is struggling to complete homework, do a little digging to see if he or she can see the content adequately.
- Constant Eye Rubbing: Frequent eye rubbing may signal a vision issue. It can also mean that your child may be suffering from allergies. Regardless, it might be worth a trip to the eye doctor if you observe your child rubbing their eyes often.
- Squinting: Squinting is a tell-tale sign that someone is struggling to see. If your child is squinting, it’s time to make an appointment with the eye doctor.
- Light Sensitivity: Similar to headaches, this symptom may also be a sign of keratoconus, as well as other vision issues. If you notice light causing your child discomfort, try appropriate sunglasses and make an appointment to get their eyes checked.
- Difficulty Reading: Struggling to read is a common sign that someone is experiencing a problem with their eyesight. Make sure to watch for this and ask your child if he or she is having trouble completing their required reading for school.
- Sitting Too Close to the TV: Children will often sit as close to the TV as possible to see clearly. If you notice your child sitting too close, ask them about their eyesight and if they can see the TV from a normal range.
These are just some behavioral trends that may indicate a vision problem, but there are other less obvious signs as well. Overall, it’s important to keep up communication and to ask your child how their schooling is going to help identify any potential problem as soon as possible.
The Importance of Comprehensive Eye Exams
Children and teenagers must have good vision to succeed in school, as it helps them understand and respond to what they are being taught. But we know it’s not always easy to tell if your child is struggling. For this reason, it is recommended that children ages 6 to 18 receive a comprehensive eye examination every year.
Vision can change quickly in young people, so if your child has an eye exam one year, that does not mean that his or her vision will not change the following year. This is especially true for progressive eye conditions, such as keratoconus. Therefore, keeping up with regular eye exams is key to determining if your child’s vision is healthy. While many schools hold vision screenings, up to 75% of vision problems are missed during school vision screenings. Make sure your child has a professional eye exam each year, as these examinations are less likely to miss vision issues. The earlier a vision issue is detected, the earlier it can be treated. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child or loved one.
What to Do if Your Child May Have a Vision Issue
If your child has told you that they are struggling to see, or if you’ve noticed they are displaying any of the aforementioned indicators, don’t ignore it! While you should contact your doctor if you have any concerns, you may also try some of the following methods to better identify if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
- Talk to Your Child: If your son or daughter is old enough to speak for themselves, why not go directly to the source? Sit down with them and ask if they are having any issues seeing or if they are concerned about their eyesight. Make sure to listen while they are talking and ask them to elaborate if you feel you aren’t getting enough information. Try asking open-ended questions and understand exactly what they’re saying in case you need to relay this information to an eye doctor.
- Talk to A Teacher: Maybe your child is on the younger side, but you still suspect he or she is having issues with their eyesight. If you aren’t getting enough information from them directly, try asking his or her teacher. Since your child’s teacher spends hours with them each day, they would have a good idea of what may be going on.
- Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam: If you have any concerns about your child’s vision, call your eye doctor and request a comprehensive eye exam. Not only will this help to diagnose any potential vision problems, but it will also bring you and your family some much-needed reassurance as to what may be going on.
If you think your child has a vision issue, don’t stress! Your child may be struggling to see, and he or she may not even realize it, so that’s why it’s important to monitor their behavior and ask them questions to help identify if they are experiencing problems. If your child is diagnosed with a vision issue – such as keratoconus – it’s better to learn about it sooner rather than later so you can help them to receive the proper attention and treatment. An early diagnosis can open the door to a variety of treatments, including iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking for the treatment of progressive keratoconus.
Remember, you’re not alone! There are a variety of communities – including the Keratoconus Group – that you can join to connect with others who may be going through a similar experience. For more information on keratoconus and the importance of early detection, or if you’re looking for a physician in your area that is offering this FDA-approved treatment, visit our website. You can also follow Living with KC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!