Kids don’t always volunteer important information to their parents. They may be happy to tell you who has a crush on who in their grade school class, but you can’t always rely on them to let you know about their health. In particular - their sight.
Parents must be diligent in their attention and in their communication with their children so that they can get the proper dialogue going about any issues their child may be having with their vision.
Vision development starts as early as pregnancy! And how the mother cares for her body influences this, as it all goes back to the development of the baby’s body and mind, including the vision centers of the brain. Always be sure to follow the instructions of your OB/GYN throughout your pregnancy.
Visual acuity for a child really sharpens and improves around the six-month range. If all is normal, parents will see a great improvement of hand-eye coordination right around the time this develops. To make sure things are normal, schedule an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist at 6 months. This will put you on the right foot should any steps or precautions be taken.
And as we noted above, your child may not volunteer that they are having vision issues. If your child is between 3 and 6, some warning signs of potential vision issues are:
1) Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close.
2) Consistently squinting to see.
3) Frequently rubbing their eyes
4) Sensitive to light
5) Closing one eye to read, watch TV, or sleep better
6) Avoiding reading or coloring - activities that require near vision OR avoiding distance vision activities like playing ball or tag
7) They complain about headaches or tired eyes
The good news for a parent is that generally, children of this age aren’t very good at fooling their parents when something is wrong. You can’t necessarily take their word that everything is fine. Take note of their actions - that will tell you the truth.
If you see the above signals, schedule an appointment with the optometrist or ophthalmologist - they’ll also be good resources for you should your child need corrective vision treatments (glasses or contacts) - they’ve been there before.