Healthy Eyesight: Preschool Vision

eyeglassesThe preschool years are important in helping to develop visual skills. This is the time period in which they are fine tuning their vision developed during their infant and toddler years. Many of the activities that your child enjoys doing also help in this matter: building with blocks, rolling a ball, coloring, writing their name, or riding a tricycle.

However, 1 in 20 preschoolers has a vision problem. It is important that you do your best in helping your child to strengthen her visual skills, but that you also notice the signs that she may be having some troubles seeing.

Symptoms of possible preschool vision problems include:

  • Holding a book too close to his face
  • Sitting too close to the TV
  • Squinting
  • Tilting her head
  • Frequently rubbing eyes, even when he isn’t sleepy
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • Closing one eye to read or watch TV
  • Short attention span
  • Complaining about headaches/pain
  • Eye turning in or out
  • Avoiding activities that have to do with hand-eye coordination: playing ball or tag, riding a bike, or even coloring or reading

If your child suffers from any of these signs, you should call your child’s pediatrician to schedule a screening. Your child’s school or pediatrician may first perform a screening to determine if your child might be suffering from vision problems. If so, then an optometrist will perform an eye examination. (It is important to remember that a screening cannot always accurately determine if vision issues are present. If your child passes the screening, but is still exhibiting warning signs, then you should call an optometrist.)

For child health in general, and to help with visual efficiency, it is important for your child to maintain a balanced diet and good sleep habits as well as stay hydrated throughout the day. There are many opportunities that you can offer your child to help strengthen visual skills:

  • Coloring, drawing, or reading
  • Throwing a ball or bean bag back and forth
  • Finger painting
  • Putting together puzzles
  • Building with blocks
  • Playing with other children
  • Riding a bike
  • Cutting and pasting paper crafts

When your child is starting school, it is important that he is seeing clearly. He needs to be able to see what the teacher is showing as well as be able to focus and pay attention in school. Visual problems that are not quickly corrected can often turn into larger issues, such as a lazy eye or cross-eye. Although these issues can be corrected, it is no longer as simple as nearsightedness or farsightedness. It is important to fix vision problems quickly so that the brain is not able to accommodate the problem.

 

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