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Recognizing vision problems in school-age children

By Shelby Tatomir on June 23, 2020 in Vision Health

Learn how vision screenings differ from eye exams and how to recognize vision problems in school-age

As a parent or caregiver, your  child’s health and wellness are always top of mind. Knowing the signs of vision problems in children can determine whether or not they receive corrective glasses early on. We’ve identified what to look for to recognize vision problems in school-age children and what steps to take after seeing the signs.

The ability to see well, is important for a child to succeed during their school years. The American Optometric Association (AOA) writes, “Reading, writing, whiteboard work, and using computers are among the visual tasks students perform daily” that demand constant use of a child's eyes. Because of this, a child’s vision problems can show up as struggles in the classroom or while participating in sports. 

Other signs that a school-aged child is experiencing vision problems include:

  • Complaints of discomfort, headaches, or tiredness.
  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking.
  • Short attention span.
  • Avoidance of reading, homework, or other close activities.
  • Covering one eye or tilting the head to see better.
  • Holding reading materials close to the face.
  • Eye turning in or out.
  • Seeing double.
  • Losing place when reading.
  • Difficulty remembering what was read.

If you notice your school-aged child is experiencing vision problems, contact your eye doctor to set up an appointment.

If you need to locate a vision provider near you, click here. 

Vision Exams for School-Aged Children

School vision screenings are helpful, but they don’t include the full spectrum of tests that an eye exam should have. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association, “a child who can see clearly and has 20/20 vision can still have  vision problems relating to eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination.” Vision screenings are not as comprehensive as vision exams.

The most common vision problems detected in school-aged children during an eye exam include:

During an eye exam, the doctor will likely recommend dilating the eye. This involves the use of eye drops to open the pupil in order for the doctor to get a complete look inside each eye. A variety of tests are performed during this exam, including a vision test, a periphery test, a muscle test, a pressure test, and a dilation test

How Often Should My Kid’s Eyesight Get Checked?

Experts recommend that a child’s vision be checked at the following ages:

  • Once between birth and three months of age
  • Once between six months and one year
  • Around age three
  • Five years old and older should visit the eye doctor annually 

Annual exams ensure any developing issues or changes are kept in check.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that children are screened upon entering school or whenever a vision problem is detected. If you suspect a vision injury or potential loss of eyesight, or your child complains about blurred vision, visit your provider as soon as possible.

Do You Have Vision Coverage?

Delta Dental offers DeltaVision plans for individuals and for employers. These plans cover exams, frames, contact lenses, and even laser correction procedures, as well as discounts on lenses and additional frames, at participating providers.

Find a DeltaVision provider.

Interested in learning more about DeltaVision? Click here.

Curious about eye health? Check out these helpful resources.