The eyes are invaluable sense organs in our bodies. And perfectly functioning eyes are essential if we want to experience all that the world has to offer and if we want to explore and exploit our full potential. As parents therefore we must be most concerned about our children’s eyes and we are. And it is our duty to be vigilant about any eye problems that may crop up through our child’s life and find a solution to that problem immediately. And since we are extremely conscientious about our duty as parents – we are anxious to know the answer to the question “How will I know if my child has short sightedness or myopia?” – because we know that short sightedness is one of the commonest problems that children have in childhood.
To answer the question “How will I know if my child has short sightedness?” Today we have with us Dr. Anirudh Singh who is a paediatric ophthalmologist.
Dr Anirudh Singh MBBS, MS (Ophthalmology) DNB (Ophthalmology) is a highly qualified and extremely accomplished paediatric ophthalmologist and an associate professor in ophthalmology. He has trained in paediatric ophthalmology and strabismus at the All India Institute of Medical sciences (AIIMS) has a fellowship in Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (FAICO). He also has a a certificate on Paediatric ophthalmology (ORBIS)
Vision problems like Myopia can occur in a child at any age.
A newborn child can have vision problems, toddlers and pre-schoolers can have short sightedness and other vision problems, older children who are going to school may have problems seeing and teenagers – especially those in their early teens can also have eye problems.
At what age should the first eye check-up be done for a child?
The first eye check up for a baby who is born at full term ( on the expected date of delivery) should be done between 3 – 6 months of age.
In case of a pre-term baby – i.e. a baby who is born before the expected date of delivery – it is important to get the first eye check done immediately after birth.
A lot of parents think that it may not be possible to examine the eyes of a newborn baby – but this a misconception. There are various methods to check the eye sight of children at various ages and you must start bringing your child for check-ups within 6 months of birth
Always remember that eye problems can occur at any age right from the time a child is born. And eye problems especially problems like short sightedness when left undiagnosed for a long time – can rapidly lead to loss of eye sight. So it is important to begin eye check-ups early in life and also to repeat the eye check-ups at the prescribed
How will I know if my baby has an eye problem?
Suspect that your baby has an eye problem which could be short sightedness or a variety of other problems – in the following cases
By 3 months of age and you feel that your baby is not looking at a toy that you are moving in front of her/him.
If he/she is not recognizing the mother’s face and looks blankly into space or into the ceiling.
If your baby is not looking when people move around.
How will I know if my toddler or pre-schooler has Myopia or short sightedness or some other eye problem?
Sometimes children who have completely normal eye sight as babies – start having difficulty seeing when they are around one and a half or two years of age. Suspect that your child has an eye problem in the following cases.
When you try to teach the child something he/she brings the object to be seen quite close to the face.
When the child tries to read he/she may close one eye while trying to read.
When you take the child outside in the sun he/she may try to close one eye to adjust to the outside light
These are indirect indicators which tell you that there is a vision problem and it is important for parents to be aware of these things
How will I know if my school going child or teenager has an eye problems?
Eye check-ups in older children are just as important in older children as they are in babies and toddlers
Suspect that your child has short sightedness (myopia) or some other eye problem if you see any of the following
You notice that while watching television there is watering in the eye
While watching TV the child is closing one eye
While watching TV the child tilts his/her head or completely turns his face to one side to allow one eye to see
Your child tilts his head to see something far away.
The child tells you that he cannot see the blackboard.
You notice that your child is copying things wrong from the blackboard and his/her handwriting is becoming difficult to read all of a sudden.
How often should you check your child’s eyes for problems?
The first eye check up for a baby must be done by 6 months of age.
After the first eye check up at six months – bring your child for a checkup every 6 months.
Sometimes children are all ok – till they reach one or two years of age. But by the time they are around one and a half or two and they actually start looking at near things ie, they start reading – they start looking at toys closely – they start developing some problem So this is the age when a second check-up is definitely required
Why is it important to get your child’s eyes checked every 6 months?
In some cases your child may never complain about not being able to see – but because of his/her eye problems like short sightedness he may lose self-esteem, perform poorly in school, develop an inferiority complex and be unable to make friends. These can be very damaging and it is important not to allow that to happen and so it is important to get the eyes checked even when a child has no complains about vision.
In some other cases only one eye of a child may be affected. That is the most sinister problem So what happens is one eye is good so the child does not complain of anything but one eye is bad so what happens is – the bad eye or the lazy eye keeps getting lazier and lazier And it reaches a point where it cannot be corrected and the child goes blind in one eye.
So that is the reason it is recommended that children are examined by an eye specialist every six months as they are growing up.