10 warning signs of eye defects in children

By Dr. Walid Abdalla, Ophthalmologist


Dr. Walid Abdalla

April 29, 2020

Imagine living the rest of your life in total darkness. It’s not a very pleasant thought, is it? Unfortunately, that is the fate of thousands of children globally who miss out on an opportunity to see and explore the world, all because of a delayed diagnosis of eye disease.

Detecting eye-related problems in a child, is not always an easy task. Doctors are often unable to gauge visual complication in children because of their inability to communicate effectively. Parents may also fail to disclose crucial details pertaining to the child’s blindness.

However, the role of early detection of visual problems in the prevention and treatment of pediatric eye disease cannot be overemphasized.

Parents play a vital role in the detection of childhood blindness. Since parents are the ones who have most contact with the children, it is imperative that each parent is well-versed in identifying symptoms of eye deviation. Here are 10 signs that your child may have a visual problem:

Squinting: If your child squints or has a cross eye and frequently closes one eye, it could be an indication of underlying visual complications. Make sure to take your child to the eye doctor at the earliest opportunity.

Holding objects closer than otherwise necessary: If your child has the habit of holding books or toys closer than required, he/she might be facing difficulty in focusing on objects due to a visual defect.

Inability to track objects/people: If your child has difficulty following a moving object with his/her eyes or cannot track other people’s movements, it could be another important cue in the diagnosis of visual complications.

Rapid and excessive blinking: If your child displays excessive blinking without any external factors, it is better to visit an eye doctor and get the issue inspected.

Cloudy layer around the child’s lens: This is usually a case of pediatric cataract and should not be neglected at any cost. While Cataract is usually an eye illness associated with older people, children can contract cataract at the time of birth or shortly after. Pediatric cataract is the second leading cause of childhood blindness and should thus be treated at the earliest.

Frequent rubbing of eyes: If your child exhibits frequent rubbing of eyes or constantly has teary eyes, it is better to visit an eye doctor for an examination.

Persistent redness or eye irritation: If you notice constant redness around your child’s eye or if he/she seems to show signs of eye irritation, it may be a symptom of eye disease.

Warning signs of eye defects in school-age children:

Difficulty in reading: This is an important factor in determining problems related to visual development in slightly older children. If your child has trouble while reading and tends to skip small words, or takes an exceptionally long time to put two words together, it could be a sign of visual impairment.

Difficulty in writing: If your child has difficulty in memorizing how to write different alphabets or writes backwards and cannot replicate text or images, it should set off alarm bells. While typically, these are symptoms of a learning disability, the root cause of the problem could stem from a vision impairment. Your child may also exhibit poor hand-eye coordination, which is also a tell-tale sign of visual problems.

Complains of blurred vision, double vision: If a slightly older child raises complains of blurred or double vision, be sure to take the child to the doctor for an eye examination. Such complaints cannot be taken lightly and need to be attended to.

While the above pointers are a general list of signs you need to watch out for to detect visual impairments in children, there are a few other reasons to visit a pediatric eye doctor.

  • If your child suffers an injury to the eye, rush to your nearest eye doctor immediately
  • If your child complains of loss of vision in one eye
  • Pus or crust formation in either eye
  • If your family has a history of eye disease, be sure to schedule regular eye checkups for your child.

While examining visual inconsistencies in children can be challenging to most Ophthalmologists, our doctors at Eye Consultants, are proficient in identifying eye problems in children from the very start, thus facilitating early treatment and possible prevention. Our specialists at Eye Consultants are experts in enhancing pediatric visual development. Our services include pediatric eye check-ups, screening for any hidden vision threatening conditions, eye infection therapy, and congenital disease. We also do our best to preserve visual acuity in a child-friendly manner.

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