As another school year quickly gets underway, your focus is undoubtedly on that long list of school supplies, back-to-school clothes, and implementing earlier bedtimes once again. Each year as your children get older and grow into the next size of shoes and clothing, it’s important to realize that their eyes are changing, too.
Because of this, they may need new glasses or a prescription update. If a back-to-school eye exam isn’t on your to-do list, it should be added, and close to the top.
If you live in Snohomish, Washington, or the surrounding areas, all of us at Eyecare Center of Snohomish make your whole family’s vision and eye health our top priority. Dr. Anup Deol and the team want to remind you to schedule back-to-school eye exams now. Keep reading to learn the signs that indicate your child may have a vision problem.
Squinting and having difficulty focusing
School is an intensely visual environment in which your child has to pay attention to the teacher, look at whiteboards across the room, and focus on their desktop — either paper or a screen — for 6-7 hours a day. If you notice your child is having trouble focusing when reading a book or doing homework, it could be a sign that they can’t see clearly.
Squinting and holding the book closer to their face can indicate a refractive error, meaning they have optical imperfections that don’t allow their eyes to properly focus light. This leads to blurred vision either up close or far away — an indication of farsightedness (hyperopia), or nearsightedness (myopia), respectively — both of which are common vision problems in kids.
The good news is that you can correct farsightedness and nearsightedness with glasses or contacts, so your kids can see clearly and feel less frustrated with their daily schoolwork.
Complaining of headaches and tired eyes
Sure, it could be the stress of a new school year or not being completely adjusted to the new bedtime and early morning schedule, but headaches may also be a sign of a vision problem. If your child has frequent headaches or complains of tired eyes after school, it may be a sign that they’re struggling to focus at different distances all day long.
A comprehensive eye exam can uncover the root cause of the problem, so your child can get new glasses or update an old prescription.
Avoiding physical activities that require hand-eye coordination
If your child often wants to sit out during physical education or avoids playing sports that involve throwing and catching a ball, it could be a sign that they’re having trouble seeing far away. Nearsightedness, or myopia, may be the underlying cause, or your child may have an astigmatism — another common eye problem that often manifests as difficulty focusing, headaches, or squinting.
Astigmatism means that your child has an irregularly shaped cornea, so their eyes can’t focus light to provide a sharp image of objects. Most often with astigmatism, the cornea is shaped more like an egg than a round ball, which causes distorted vision. Glasses and contacts can usually correct astigmatism in children.
Turning or tilting their head to see better
Turning or tilting their head to the side may help your child focus better, especially if one eye is stronger than the other. If you notice your child turning or tilting their head in the same direction each time they try to focus up close or far away, it could be a sign of a vision problem in at least one eye.
When Dr. Deol conducts a comprehensive eye exam — which is much more thorough than a vision screening at school or the pediatrician’s office — she uncovers the underlying problems so she can prescribe an effective treatment solution.
Don’t wait until your child’s grades start slipping because they’re unable to see well enough to take notes or retain what they’ve read. Make your back-to-school eye exam appointment today. Eyecare Center of Snohomish welcomes your phone calls at 360-568-6666, or you can click here to book an appointment online.