In the last few decades, the number of children suffering from near-sightedness or myopia has grown considerably. Around 30% of the population has been known to suffer from this condition.
One of the major reasons for this is the tendency of children to spend too much time looking at electronic devices and not go outdoors. As a parent, you must always be on the lookout whether your little one is showing signs of myopia or not. Here are six common symptoms of myopia in children.
1. Sitting too close to the TV
Does your child reflexively move the couch closer to the TV every evening? If yes, then this can be a significant symptom of myopia. This happens because your child isn’t able to make out the cartoon characters or objects on the screen from a distance.
The more they sit closer to the TV screen, the more harmful it is. If you feel that this is a regular occurrence, it’s definitely time to take your child to the ophthalmologist for a checkup.
2. Squinting or frequent blinking
Another common symptom of myopia in children is squinting or blinking very rapidly. Sometimes, this can also cause watery eyes or redness.
If your child says that the objects placed at a distance look blurry, it’s because the light rays entering the eye are focused in front of the retina instead of being focused on it. Frequent squinting or blinking can also make your child’s eyes itchy and make them uncomfortable.
3. Trouble reading words
If your child holds books or magazines too close to their face while reading them, this can also point towards myopia. This is because the letters or writings on the books are not clear when viewed from a proper distance, which is why your child has to bring them close to their face for a clearer vision.
This can also happen in school, where they are not able to clearly make out the writing on the chalkboard. If your kid complains that they’re having a hard time reading what’s written on the board, you must definitely talk to the doctor.
4. Frequent headaches
Even though not all headaches occur due to myopia, most of the time, headaches in children can mean eye problems. If you see your child complaining of a throbbing head or painful eyes almost every other day, it is most definitely myopia. Instead of giving a painkiller or balm to soothe the headache, you should instead visit an eye doctor for better insights.
Even though medicines can cure headaches temporarily, it’s best to understand the root cause of these headaches and treat them as soon as possible.
5. Closing one eye often
Another common symptom of myopia is to close one eye or cover it with one hand and read or look at the object with only the other eye. This helps your child to focus on the object or writing more clearly. If your kid does this frequently, you can be sure that the problem is myopia.
Since it’s not possible to keep looking at things with one eye closed, you should take them for an eye checkup to the optometrist to find out how to cure the problem.
6. Withdrawal from daily activities
Withdrawal from daily activities like playing, reading, or writing can indicate many things, one of them being myopia. Maybe playing outside causes blurry vision in your child, which is why they prefer to stay indoors instead. Or they aren’t able to read words clearly so they stop reading books altogether. If you see these signs, talk to your child gently and ask them what’s wrong. If they say they’re suffering from vision problems, consult a doctor immediately.
7. When to go to a doctor
It’s important to treat near-sightedness as early as possible to prevent further worsening of the eyes. Untreated myopia can cause severe problems like retinal detachment. Also, not treating myopia timely can cause your child to stay away from participating in various activities which will lead to behavioural and cognitive problems in the future. In most cases, children get glasses first and contact lenses later.
Over to you…
For most people, vision changes between 6-20 years of age. Take your child to the ophthalmologist regularly to ensure everything is fine and get a proper treatment done in case something is wrong. With myopia in children, frequent changes can occur and this stabilizes eventually.