Vision Problems (Child)

Vision problems affect many children. Signs of vision problems in a young child may include having trouble keeping eyes focused on an object or having trouble following a moving object. A young child with a vision problem may have poor eye contact. In some cases, it can be hard to tell a child has a vision problem if the child is young or doesn’t speak.

An older child with a vision problem may complain about not seeing objects clearly. He or she may have trouble reading or seeing the board at the front of a classroom. Other symptoms include squinting, rubbing the eyes, dizziness, or headaches.

Your child may have tests to find the cause of the vision problem. Treatment depends on the cause. Some children need eyeglasses. Others need to wear an eye patch or be taught how to do eye exercises. To prevent more vision problems, it's best to start treatment as early as possible.

Make sure to tell your child’s healthcare provider if there is a family history of eye problems.

Home care

Follow these guidelines when caring for your child at home:

  • Keep track of when your child has trouble seeing. Make note if your child is not able to focus when reading or looking at things up close. Also note if your child is not able to focus when looking at things far away.

  • If your child must wear an eye patch, have him or her wear the patch as instructed. Make sure your child doesn’t play with the patch.

  • Help your child do eye exercises, if advised by a healthcare provider.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as advised. Your child may need to see a pediatric ophthalmologist. This is an eye specialist who is trained to work with children.

Special note to parents

Your child’s eyes should be examined at medical checkups. They should also be examined before your child starts school.

When to get medical advice

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if your child's vision problems are getting worse.

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