Ensuring your child’s vision is developing correctly and at the proper speed is crucial so that they don’t suffer from serious problems. Regular Eye Exams can help spot potential symptoms, but it can be a difficult thing to keep track of – it’s not like a young child can accurately tell you what is going on with their eyes.

Even so, there are ways in which you can spot the warning signs and ensure any potential problems get seen to as quickly as possible. In this article, we are going to discuss many different aspects to children’s eyecare, in order to break down any confusion.

The Types of “Eye Doctors”

The problems surrounding proper eyecare mostly boil down to confusion: there are even common misconceptions about which type of eye doctor can do what. To put it simply, there are three main types. These are as follows:

An optician or dispensing optician is someone who fits and adjusts glasses, that’s all.

An optometrist provides comprehensive eye care, from eye tests and upwards.

An ophthalmologist does everything that an optometrist does, as well as performing corrective surgery.

Possible Symptoms to Watch For

There are many different signs that might indicate that your child is experiencing some problems with his or her vision. Remember, though: these symptoms are not necessarily indicative of a larger issue; they may just be unrelated. But if you do notice any of the following, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so you should book an eye test to make sure.

The signs include the following:

  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Increase in blinking
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Increased redness or tearing of the eyes
  • A change in pupil colour
  • Poor focusing
  • Poor tracking or unusual eye movement

For older children, look out for these additional symptoms:

  • Sitting closer to the TV
  • Bringing objects closer to the face
  • Having difficulty reading at a distance (e.g. the whiteboard at school)
  • Frequent squinting

If you keep a vigilant look out for these symptoms and ensure your child gets an eye test as soon as possible, you may well be able to prevent a permanent problem from developing.

The Most Common Eye Problems for Children

There are, of course, a large number of vision problems. The majority of these are not serious, but should still be checked out by a trained professional, just in case.

Amblyopia is more commonly known as “lazy eye”. Although not serious at first, if not treated it can cause permanent loss of vision in the affected eye. Crossed eyes is the most common symptom; get it treated as soon as you can.

Strabismus is related, and can lead to amblyopia if left untreated. It is a misalignment in the eyes – when the eyes are not pointing in the correct way. An eye may be turned up or down, in or out. If treated early, it can be corrected through the use of an eyepatch.

Refractive errors are the most common complaints: they included near- and far-sightedness and astigmatism. These are corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Make sure to speak to your GP or optometrist if you feel your child is suffering from any of these, as well as if there’s a history of eye problems such as glaucoma or cataracts in the family.