Back to School: Children’s Eye Health


Written By: Dr. Trent Richards, Ophthalmologist

August isn’t just back to school month, it’s also children’s eye health month! This is a great time of year to be reminded of ways to tell if your child’s vision is suffering. Here are a few things you can look for as a parent to make sure your child is seeing well.

  1. Crossing or drifting of their eyes.  A child’s eyes should not cross or drift after the first few months of age. If you notice this happening in your child, then you should make an appointment to see an ophthalmologist as this could be a sign of a lazy eye. Treating a lazy eye before a child is 9 years old will yield the best results, so it is important to get a child in sooner rather than late.
  2. White pupillary reflex in pictures. If you notice that your child has a strange looking light pupillary reflex, then they should be seen by an ophthalmologist. This can be a sign of several different eye problems that would need to be addressed right away in order to save the child’s vision. See image below for an example:

         

  1. Squinting or complaining that they cannot see the board in school. Ask your child if they can see the board at school if they are sitting toward the back of the class. You can also ask your child if they can see equally clear between the two eyes. Your child may pass the vision screening tests at school but still be in need of some glasses. It is always best to have them seen by an eye doctor if they are complaining of not being able to see things. Also, complaining of headaches is an indicator that they may need assistance with their vision.
  2. Listen to your intuition!!!!  This is my number one rule when seeing kids. If mom or dad says there is something wrong, then 9 times out of 10 there is something wrong. If you feel like your child may not be seeing well, bring them in for an eye exam. There is no harm in having them get a good eye exam to make sure their eyes are healthy.