Good vision is vital to a child's academic and social development. How can we tell if our child has vision problems? Children are often unaware of their visual defect or have difficulty expressing it. Sometimes, they're so used to their visual defect that they think it's normal. 

Here are 10 signs to look for that indicate your child needs an eye exam.  

  • If your child often complains of headaches and migraines, especially at the end of the day;
  • If your child blinks, rubs or frowns frequently, especially when concentrating;
  • If they squint frequently and move closer to what they want to see. For example, they ask to sit at the front of the class, as close as possible to the chalkboard, or tend to stand (too) close to their screen;
  • If they can’t pay attention for very long, i.e. sometimes lose their place while reading or reading the same sentence twice;
  • If your child retains little of what they have just read;
  • If they confuse certain letters;
  • If your child is sensitive to light and often has watery eyes;
  • If they show discomfort when one of their eyes is hidden but do not react if the other is;
  • If your child frequently bumps into things and has difficulty finding their way around;
  • If they tire quickly and give up quickly on activities they have started. 

A complete eye examination is important

Myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia, strabismus... These are just some of the vision disorders often found in children. Currently, 1 in 4 school-age children suffers from a visual problem. 

Is the parent in you worried? Don't worry. First of all, the presence of the above-mentioned signs doesn't necessarily mean that a vision problem exists, but if it does, you should know that it's often benign and usually resolves completely if treated promptly. Above all, a vision problem could explain your child's lack of motivation for an activity and difficulties at school. Correcting the situation will boost your child's self-esteem.

A few figures to remember for good habits to adopt 

2 metres from TV

55-65 cm from screens (depending on size)

30-40 cm for close-up activities (reading, puzzles, crafts, etc.)

20-20-20 principle: a 20-second break is needed to look into the distance - 20 feet (6 m) - every 20 minutes.

90 minutes: daily outdoor playtime to counter the onset and progression of myopia.

For the apple of your eye, open your eyes - and both of them! Make an appointment with an IRIS optometrist for a complete eye examination of your child.