Kevin Gertsch, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Pediatric Ophthalmologist
With school starting again, many parents and children want to make sure they begin the year with the best vision possible. Although most vision screening is performed by your pediatrician, you may want to be aware of some of the signs and symptoms that your child may need glasses. If your child is experiencing these symptoms or does not pass their vision screen at the pediatrician, they should have an eye exam performed to check vision and other medical diseases of the eyes. Some of these symptoms may be present even if your child does not need glasses, but it may be necessary to rule out the need for glasses or other treatments prior to having further testing and evaluation by your pediatrician. Children often do not realize that they need glasses as they learn to cope with the vision they have. If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, please consider having them evaluated!
— Frequent squinting or blinking of the eyes is a very common sign of decreased vision which can be corrected with glasses.
— Headaches brought on by squinting or straining to see things may completely resolve with the use of glasses. The symptoms will usually occur while reading or performing activities that utilize distance vision (such as watching TV). There are many other causes for headaches, but checking for refractive error (the need for glasses) can help the pediatrician and pediatric neurologist rule out common causes. An ophthalmologist can also check for papilledema (bulging of the optic nerves caused by increased intracranial pressure) which can be a sign of more serious causes of headaches due to diseases affecting the brain.
Holding things close to eyes or standing close to the TV
— Many children who do not need glasses like to stand close to the television, but this can also be a sign of near-sightedness.
— This can be an early sign of decreased vision or the need for glasses.
— Some children who need glasses will turn their heads sideways or tip their heads down to look up to see things better.
Delays in motor skills
— Small children with delays in walking or crawling sometimes are slow to do so because they cannot see their surroundings well.
Difficulty with driving
— Most teenagers are excited to learn to drive to increase their independence. If teenagers who were previously excited to drive show a new disinterest in having opportunities to get behind the wheel, they may be having difficulty seeing the road, roadsigns or other cars clearly.
— Eyes which are crossed or wandering can be associated with the need for glasses; they should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.
Difficulty with reading or problems in school
— Believe it or not, learning and discipline problems in school can sometimes be related to poor vision!
Does your child need an eye exam? Schedule an appointment with our pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Kevin Gertsch, today.