Often children will have no idea that they have a vision problem, so it's important that you look out for the warning signs. Examples of some indicators that your child may be having trouble with their sight include holding books very close when reading, squinting or blinking often, tilting their head or closing one eye to see better (when watching TV for example), rubbing their eyes or complaining of recurring headaches.
Other signs can be more obvious such as a droopy eyelid, bulging eyes, cloudy eyes or they may have pupils of different sizes.
Unfortunately, some eye conditions such as lazy eye (or amblyopia) have no symptoms at all, but undiagnosed children often find learning situations difficult, which is why it is important to have your child's vision checked periodically.
In New Zealand, we are fortunate enough to have routine vision screening for children between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 years of age. If a problem is detected during this test then it is important to get your child booked in for an assessment with an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) as soon as possible. The assessment will involve much more than an acuity test, which determines the smallest letters you can read on a chart. It will also involve assessment of ocular alignment at distance or near, depth perception and an accurate measurement of the focus to determine if glasses are required.
The earlier an eye condition is picked up and treated, the best chance your child will have for successful treatment.
Take a look at our paediatric video which provides a child-friendly explanation of what to expect at your child's first appointment with Auckland Eye.