Visiting the eye doctor at the end of summer, at the beginning of the new school year, should be a tradition that most families adopt. Over the course of the year, it is easy to become extremely busy and put off visiting the eye doctor as often as is necessary to maintain good eyesight. Each…
5 Signs Your Child May Need Prescription Glasses
It is not uncommon for children who need prescription glasses to live with an undiagnosed vision problem for years. Vision problems can negatively impact a child's performance both in school and outside of the classroom. Vision problems can also cause a number of adverse health symptoms such as headaches and chronic fatigue. For these reasons and others, it is important to recognize the signs of vision problems and to address them with an optometrist as soon as possible.
What are prescription glasses?
Prescription glasses, or prescription spectacles, are eyeglasses that help improve the patient’s vision. They are specifically designed to match the patient’s vision defect. Children in particular can benefit from prescription glasses as it helps them learn and feel more confident daily.
Signs a child needs prescription glasses
It can be difficult to recognize vision problems in young children, especially if those children have yet to master their ABCs and numbers one through 10. Below are five signs that may be suggestive of a vision disorder.
1. Complaints of headaches
Headaches can occur for any number of reasons, including dehydration, poor sleep, and emotional stress. However, one of the most common reasons for headaches in children is vision strain. If a child complains about headaches often (once a week or more), it may be a sign of undiagnosed eyesight issues.
Children and adults alike unconsciously squint or read with one eye shut to compensate for blurry vision. When a child squints when doing homework or trying to concentrate on small symbols, it is time for the parent to schedule a visit with the eye doctor. Though it is the body's instinct to squint, doing so does not help. In fact, squinting does more harm than good and perpetuates chronic headaches.
3. Poor performance in school
It is not uncommon for children with eyesight issues to perform poorly in school, or for teachers, guidance counselors, and parents to assume the child has ADD or ADHD. When a child needs prescription glasses but does not receive correction, it becomes difficult for them to concentrate on computers, textbooks, or whiteboards. Oftentimes, the adults in the child's life will either assume the child prefers not to focus on schoolwork or has an undiagnosed behavioral disorder. Before resorting to medications for such disorders, parents should visit the optometrist to see if the child needs glasses instead.
4. Excessive eye rubbing
Individuals who live with undiagnosed sight issues tend to rub their eyes excessively. Children and adults may do this to "restore" vision or to alleviate the pain, strain, or discomfort poor eyesight causes.
5. Sitting too close to the TV
Many children sit too close to the TV for no particular reason. However, a parent should always be wary about this type of behavior, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as headaches, excessive eye rubbing, or poor academic performance. Sitting too close to the television and holding devices too close to one's face may be a sign of nearsightedness, myopia, or poor long-distance vision.
What are the benefits of prescription glasses for children?
There are many benefits of prescription glasses for children who do not have ideal vision. In other cases, prescription glasses may also help address certain uncomfortable symptoms (e.g. headaches) or address eye complications such as a lazy eye or being cross-eyed. Some of the more notable benefits of prescription glasses for children include (but are not limited to):
- Improved daily function
- More daily confidence
- Helps children feel better
- Improved reading skills
- Improved ability to learn
- May help strengthen vision
- May help straighten eyes
It is best to discuss the pros and cons of prescription glasses for your child with an eye doctor to determine if they are appropriate. Of course, contact lenses may also be an option (see below).
Contact lenses vs. prescription glasses: which is better?
Ultimately, the choice between contact lenses and prescription glasses usually comes down to personal preference. Many children (and parents) prefer glasses as they are more affordable and less difficult to wear. Contact lenses, however, are not noticeable, which many children and parents prefer.
Ask a professional
If a child constantly complains of headaches, squints when reading, demonstrates poor performance in school, rubs their eyes excessively, or sits too close to the television, they may be living with vision problems and need prescription glasses. To ensure these issues do not negatively impact performance in or out of the classroom, parents should schedule an eye exam at the first sign of sight problems.
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