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Signs Your Child Needs Glasses

The NHS recommends that children should get their eyes tested every two years, but life can be busy. As parents, we all want the best for our children. Whether it is clothes, stationery, food, or glasses…

We may worry about what our child needs, but it can be difficult to tell if they need items or not, like glasses. This is what this article is here for. As a child, I needed glasses from the age of 5, so I know many of the signs and struggles of glasses. This article will discuss and show you some signs.

Sign 1: Squinting

Squinting reduces the amount of light around the eye, meaning that the blurred image your child will see is smaller. So you might catch your child squinting to see better or to remove strong light.

This helps as looking through a small opening like a pinhole reduces the image on the back of their retina, so this temporarily improves their vision. If you notice your child squinting at objects or words that are not too far away or too close, then it is likely they have bad eyesight.

When I was little, my teacher immediately noticed that I had eye trouble as, about the age of 5, I kept having to move to the front of the class to be able to read what the board said.

Other adults around your child will likely be able to help you tell if your child needs glasses, simply by the way that they act, especially in school.

Signs Your Child Needs Glasses

Sign 2: Sitting close to the TV or bringing books close to the face

This sign can show near-sightedness because your child may be sitting closer so they can see better. You could also use subtitled programs to see how your child reacts to reading the words or give them a fairy-tale or nursery rhyme book.

Resting iPads, books, or sheets against their nose is a common sign of short-sightedness as moving objects closer brings the object to the clear focal point of the eye, making the image larger.

If you see that your child is moving closer to objects, you should definitely book an eye examination for your child, especially since uncorrected vision problems increase eye fatigue. This can make vision worse with time.

Sign 3: Your Child

Your son or daughter may literally tell you if they have headaches, dizziness, or other symptoms common to bad eyesight.

If your child has especially bad eyesight, then it is likely that they are experiencing a higher level of clumsiness and low comprehension reading skills. They may also complain about double vision or halos around objects.

Children are often very curious and blunt about people, feelings, and life. Because of this, they will likely tell you that they cannot see or read a certain thing if you point to an object and describe it. Children will also tell you if they are feeling discomfort or pain, so it is always best to take small children seriously and get any concerns checked out.

Sign 4: Eye fatigue or strain

Eye fatigue occurs when the eyes are in pain because they have been overworked beyond their capacity. Eye fatigue can also happen when the muscles in the eyes don’t receive enough rest and hydration, as well as protection from harsh screen glares from long periods of time.

Children also often have lag ophthalmic, a type of condition that can cause your child’s eyes to dry out during the night because their eyelids do not completely shut while they are sleeping. This may cause excessive tearing in the day, which can also interfere with your child’s vision.

This can be spotted by frequent eye rubbing and any eye pain your child may have.

However, this could be due to a computer glare or a lack of sleep that can cause eye fatigue and strain.

Signs Your Child Needs Glasses

Sign 5: Decreased Night Vision

If your child has bad night vision or complaints they cannot see during the late evening or early morning, this could be a sign of decreased night vision and may signal a need for glasses.

While this is usually associated with old age, it is normal in children too.

Night-blindness can be caused by near-sightedness, cataracts, and vitamin A deficiency. This can be solved; however, genetic decreased night vision cannot. If your child has good eyesight yet still has decreased night vision, then they should eat foods high in vitamin A, such as:

  • Pumpkins
  • Carrots
  • Mangoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Cantaloupe

Sign 6: Light to Dark Transitions and Light Sensitivity

Transitions from light to dark (and the opposite) don’t always immediately make the affected need to consider glasses. However, if you do actually struggle in this way, you could possibly need them!

Exotropia, a type of strabismus, may cause children to squint their one eye occasionally once they are exposed to bright sunlight. While intense light will cause distress to all, if your child is light-sensitive, they may frequently complain about headaches. This can be thought of as light sensitivity or intolerance of light, photophobia.

If an eye test shows your child has normal eyesight, you can wear a hat or sunglasses to smooth the light and dark transitions.

Sign 7: Struggling to read

As well as not being able to see words clearly, your child may frequently skip words while reading or struggle to keep their place. Skipping lines can be a sign of astigmatism or even sometimes an eye problem such as strabismus during reading aloud. Does your child regularly find it difficult to keep their place while they are reading?

Coloring too close to the page, with their back hunched over the paper as they color, is not only bad for their posture but shows a sign of bad eyesight as your child is making the image bigger so they can be better. They may also bring electronic devices up to their face or bend down hunched over the screen.

Have your child read to you periodically, aloud, as this can reveal many potential problems of vision by listening to your child. Check if your child does this and watch and listen to see if she skips words or needs to use her finger to keep her place while reading.

While using her finger to point to words is not always a bad sign; it can be a sign of an uncorrected vision problem like amblyopia.

Signs Your Child Needs Glasses

When reading, try to pick colorful books with easy words that your child will recognize and say easily. This makes it easier to pick out their eye problems rather than normal reading difficulties many children have.

Struggling to read is such a major symptom that any teacher will immediately pick up on and notice, as it will affect your child’s ability to read and answer questions at school, so this will negatively affect your child’s learning.

If your child goes to school, it would be a good idea to ask your son or daughter’s teacher to see if they could check to see if they think your child needs glasses or if they have any sight-related problems at school.

All of these signs can be difficult to spot sometimes, but if you are in doubt, you should definitely book your child an optician’s appointment, as it is best to have a qualified optician to check your son or daughter’s eyes.

After all, eyesight is so important to many skills, such as reading, writing, learning, and life. However, if after your child has gone to the opticians and does not have bad eyesight, and your child doesn’t have to have glasses, and they still have rather low reading comprehension, then that is another problem.

Children need to have reading success and the skills and confidence so that they can achieve and reach their full potential. If your son or daughter is struggling to read and they do not have bad eyesight, then you and your partner could look at ways to improve reading comprehension for your child’s benefit, like the one here at Children Learning Reading.


It is important to keep checking your child’s eyesight because even though the eye problems may be genetic or from birth, bad eyesight is usually only noticeable until an older age. Even once they get glasses, they must regularly get check-ups.

As children and adults grow older, eyesight worsens over time, no matter how good or bad their eyesight is, so it is important to fix problems as soon as possible.

This is why eyesight is important because without having regular check-ups, and eyesight problems could occur and worsen without the optician’s or doctor’s knowledge. Eyesight is needed to be able to read, one of the basic key skills.

For children, it would be devastating if they could fully learn a language due to sight loss. This can be prevented as children with minor problems like squint, and lazy can be corrected before they turn 8.

If you are in doubt, just book an appointment! The relief of knowing a certain answer will be better than worrying over ‘what ifs.’

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