04 May 2016
Toddlers don’t usually realise if they have a sight problem, so it’s important that you know the telltale signs to look out for.
Babies and young children learn a lot from the things they see around them, so an undetected eyesight problem has the potential to impact a toddler’s development. That’s why it’s so important that vision problems are identified and corrected as early on as possible.
Babies and toddlers go through lots of routine developmental checks which include checking their eyesight. The first one of these is their newborn physical examination which is carried out within 72 hours of birth. This is then followed up by another routine examination aged 6-8 weeks during which their eyes will be checked again. These checks are invaluable, but remember that eyesight problems can occur at any point in life and a child’s eyes continually grow and develop until they are about 8 years old.
If a toddler has grown up with vision problems or deteriorating vision then it’s unlikely that they will realise there is anything wrong with their sight. Here are a 5 telltale behaviours that can be symptoms of eye problems or signs of needing glasses in toddlers:
Sitting or standing very close to the television
Constantly running up close to the television to watch their favourite programme may be a sign that your child is struggling to see the television from a distance. Try asking them questions about what appears on screen whilst they’re sat next to you at an acceptable distance.
Closing one eye, squinting or tilting head
Closing one eye, squinting, or tilting the head whilst trying to focus on something, can all be signs that a child is having some problems seeing. If one eye is weaker than the other you may notice a toddler covering that eye whilst watching television or looking at something in the distance. The younger a toddler is when these kinds of symptoms are picked up the better chance there is of correcting any problems.
Rubbing their eyes or blinking a lot
Toddlers are constantly on the go and often get tired quickly, but if a toddler is rubbing their eyes and blinking a lot during times when you wouldn’t expect them to be tired it could be down to eye discomfort. If you notice excessive eye rubbing, check to see if the eyes look at all red or watery, it could be down to eyestrain or vision problems.
Leaning in very close to books
If a child is constantly leaning in very low to the paper they are colouring or the book they’re looking at, then it may be because they’re struggling to see it clearly. Try holding the book at an acceptable distance from them and asking them questions about what they can see.
Complaining of headaches and/or sore eyes
It’s perfectly normal for toddlers to experience the odd headache. But if headaches are becoming a regular thing it could be down to poor eyesight. If their vision isn’t quite perfect and it’s not being corrected then the muscles at the back of their eyes will get tired from trying to focus on objects, resulting in headaches and eyestrain symptoms.
Although developmental health checkups are invaluable, the checks that are performed on eye health during these tests are not as specialist as those that an optometrist carries out.
If you have any concerns about your toddler’s vision then they can be booked in for an eye test at any point. We recommend that all young children should have an eye test before they start school and then our optometrist will advise how frequently they will be required in the future.
During an eye test the optometrist doesn’t only test a child’s vision, they also check for symptoms of general eye and health conditions.
Free eye tests are funded by the NHS for children under the age of 16. Any child that needs glasses qualifies for an NHS voucher enabling them to choose a free pair of glasses in-store from our range priced £39.10.
Our kid’s glasses come in a range of fun designs featuring favourite characters from films like Snoopy, Home and Star Wars, find out more in our Kids and Teen’s glasses blog.
To book a free eyesight test at your local Tesco Opticians for a toddler or young child under 16, please call us on: 0345 601 3479.