Keep an eye out

Your child’s growth and development is dependent on many different factors. We often take for granted that all of the different parts are working together. Often overlooked is a child’s vision.

Signs of eye and vision problems

According to the American Public Health Association, about 10 percent of preschoolers have eye or vision problems. However, children this age generally will not voice complaints about their eyes. Parents should watch for signs that may indicate a vision problem, including sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close, squinting, tilting their head, frequently rubbing their eyes, short attention span for the child’s age, turning of an eye in or out, sensitivity to light, difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing ball or bike riding, avoiding coloring activities, puzzles and other detailed activities.

Vision screening or vision exam

Many physicians or preschools offer vision screenings, but they are a limited process and can’t diagnose a vision problem. However, vision screenings are a good indicator of a potential need for further evaluation. Between the ages of 3 and 5, your child should have a thorough, in-person optometric eye examination to make sure his or her vision is developing properly. Treatment can include eyeglasses of vision therapy to help correct a vision development problem.

Helping your child with vision development

As simple as it may sound, playing with your child is so important to visual development. These activities can include: throwing and catching a ball, read aloud to your child and ask them to point out the pictures, finger painting, building blocks, puzzles, simple memory games, crafting and coloring, bike/tricycle riding, swinging and interaction with other children.

From ages 2 to 5, your child is perfecting the visual abilities gained during infancy and developing new ones. If you have concerns about your child’s vision, always consider having he or she be seen regularly by an optometrist. Your child’s eyesight is and will be crucial to keeping development on track.