The development of the visual system continues into early childhood. Often eye glass prescriptions don’t stabilize until the age of about 18. Until that time, children may struggle with symptoms of blurry vision, trouble focusing or poor binocular vision, which is the ability for the two eyes to work together. Since children are still learning how to see, many children’s visual problems can go undetected if not checked.
There are a few signs that may indicate a child needs glasses. For example, squinting the eyes when trying to focus, tilting of the head, rubbing the eyes or covering one eye while reading or watching television may be signs of an uncorrected refractive error and the need for glasses. Children may also complain of blurry vision at a particular distance, or they may have trouble in school. If the two eyes are not working well together, a lazy eye can develop and may cause double vision. If caught early, this can be managed and treated with eyeglasses. It is a good idea to have children’s eyes checked as early as 6 months of age.
A doctor of optometry can use a variety of tests to help determine if there is any need for glasses or if there are any signs that glasses may be needed in the future. It is especially important for a child to be seen before starting school and yearly afterwards to ensure that they have optimal vision for learning.