Open thread: Signs your young child needed glasses

It’s a question that all of us with a young child in glasses have heard over and over: “How did you even know your child needed glasses?”  It’s hard when your son or daughter isn’t reading, might not even be talking, to have any sense of whether they’re seeing well.  And if you look for information on signs of vision problems, most books and websites talk about sitting too close to a tv, or trouble reading a chalkboard, or difficulty reading.  Useful, but so much not for the very young kids.  I’d like to pull together a list of signs of vision problems for parents of very young children.  So what led you to have your child’s vision checked?   Are there signs that you may not have paid attention to at the time, but in retrospect are ones you’d tell other parents to watch out for?

(For us, Zoe’s eyes were turning in quite noticeably and significantly starting around 8 months old.  Even with them turning so much, I almost ignored it and let it go.  When I did bring it up to her pediatrician, I fully expected her doctor to tell me it was nothing.  Zoe’s doctor didn’t see her eyes turning at that appointment, but thank goodness she still trusted me and what I was describing, and referred us to an eye doctor.)


15 responses to “Open thread: Signs your young child needed glasses

  1. We found out our Son had a congenital cataract on each eye when he was 4 as had his eyes tested before he started school and it was picked up then. He has glasses and check ups every 6 months re cataracts and everyone knows him as having glasses. Had no idea of his vision problems when he was very young, had difficulty with some fine motor 2/3 years old and in big crowds became a bit frightened and overwhelmed at times but we thought he was maybe just an anxious child. Fine motor, holding a pencil and anxiety etc all makes sense now and it was probably related to the fact he couldn’t see properly. Wish we had of had his eyes tested earlier.


  2. My son’s right eye started turning when he was 18 months old. He is farsighted and needed glasses. Before that though, signs that I now know were eye related were: he was an extremely frustrated baby as well his speech was affected as well. These were both corrected with glasses within a short period of time.


  3. I MISSED SIGNS! Our daughter was squinting a lot (like popeye) and cocking her head in bright light as a toddler. We can see it it old photos. Her eye didn’t cross until she was 4 but in retrospect signs were there as early as 1 1/2- 2 yrs. Also, her depth perception was off and by 3 yrs. she was a bit clumsy & very cautious on playground equipment (easily missed because early motor skills vary so greatly between kids (she’s the 5th of 6 kids). After getting glasses she went from being cautious to assertive & confident while playing outside (running, climbing etc.).


  4. My oldest got glasses at three. My mom noticed he wasn’t seeing well. He blinked his eyes a lot and was super cautious. When we took him into the doctor he didn’t answer any of the questions and the doctor said he was fine. We got a second opinion and he was definitely needing specs. With my youngest, I noticed right away. She wasn’t making eye contact like my other kids had. Turned out she had cataracts in both eyes. Thank God for modern medicine and doctors skilled with children.


  5. Arianna’s right eye started turning at about 31/2, but I really didn’t think she would need glasses. I was in shock when I took her to the Ophthalmologists and was told she was Farsighted needed glasses and needed to patch.


  6. DS showed no signs of his strong astigmatism at 2yrs, so we wouldn’t have known except that his pediatrician does routine eye screenings at his well checks. He got an outlying “score” on one eye, so doctor sent us to the optometrist. Sadly, I hear these screenings are not common, though!


  7. My daughter is a teenager now, but wanted to share the two signs I noticed, but didn’t act on being a first time Mom & lacked vision knowledge. My daughter as a toddler would sit close to the tv & was nervous when walking up stairs, this was a little more obvious while playing on playground equipment. My daughter had difficulty walking up the stairs on playground equipment by herself. We always had to hold her hand & guide her.

    I’m so happy to know that awareness is growing about having a child’s eyes checked as early as 6 months. My daughter started wearing glasses at around 6 yo. I suspect she needed glasses at about 3 yo.


  8. I noticed my son’s left eye would linger in when he was holding something close to his face – like when he would eat. His eyes would go properly in, but then his left eye would linger. This started becoming noticeable around 7 months. Our pediatrician noticed it at his 9 month well baby exam and recommended we see an optometrist. We had a frustrating visit – the doctor barely looked at our son and blew us off. So we found a pediatric ophthamologist who was awesome. My son got glasses at about a year. He is super far sighted and his left eye is weaker. His eye now (at 15 months) rarely lingers in when the glasses are on, but it goes right in when the glasses are off.


  9. My daughter’s eye started turning in around age 28 months. Sometime before that she had double vision, saying, two Mommies, two Papis, etc. I was concerned but it went away so I thought she was fine. It probably went away because her brain began to suppress one eye. The other thing that happened at age 2 and three was that she failed the binocular vision screening at the pediatrician’s office. That’s when she was referred to an ophthalmologist and prescribed glasses, at age 3.5. She was also referred to a pediatric opthalmologist who recommended surgery. We went to a developmental optometrist who recommended vision therapy instead. We have been doing it about 9 months and have seen great improvements but still little or no 3d vision.


  10. My son was 22 months, when I thought I noticed one of his eyes cross. I thought I was imagining things. My husband told me I was crazy too. After seeing it happen I again, I made him an appointment with an Optometrist. They told me he was extremely farsighted in both eyes & needed glasses. I cried & cried.Then I decided that doctor was wrong, Mikey may have a slight problem, but his eyesight could not be as bad as this doctor was saying & I did not believe he needed glasses. There were no other signs that he was having trouble seeing. Just an occasional crossing of the eyes (when looking at the tv). So I made an appointment with an Pediatric Ophthalmologist, who then confirmed, that yes Mikey was extremely farsighted & needed glasses. (+6.5 in both eyes) So Mikey was wearing glasses by his 2nd Birthday. He is now 3.5 years. I don’t know why I thought it was the end of the world. I feel silly now. I am just so grateful that he can see clearly now.


  11. We would take a picture of our daughter with our phone and noticed that her left eye would turn in sometimes. We took her to the eye doctor and she said her left eye is twice as far sighted as her right, so she put her in glasses to try and correct it.


  12. We had no idea that my daughter had any problems with her eyesight until she failed the vision screening at her 3 year appointment. Looking back though, there were signs. My daughter’s depth perception was terrible–she would walk into walls pretty frequently She walked into the car door so often that we, out of habit, would physically direct her around the car door. She complained of headaches a lot, but I get headaches a lot so we thought she was just mimicking. She rarely used utensils for eating. The day she got her glasses, she started using her fork and has used it consistently since then. Also, her attention span for art projects at school has changed a lot. Prior to getting glasses, she would spend less than a minute working on a project–now she will work on it until it is finished.


  13. Pingback: Resolution for the new year: get your child’s vision checked | Little Four Eyes·

  14. All of this is making me feel so much better. We just left the pediatric ophthalmologist, my son is 18 mos. And needs a patch and glasses. Apparently his crossing eye is shutting down, and i had no idea. I’ve been crying and crying feeling insanely guilty that i didn’t notice anything earlier….its hard to say what the ‘warning signs’ were, the only reason i even took him at all was that his normal pediatrician said she thought one of his eyes was turning inward more than usual. And truthfully i wasn’t super concerned, i thought it was just cuz he was tired or something, and that it would just correct itself. I’d have to say, thinking really critically about it, there may have been a few things over the last 3-4 months that i wish i would have taken more seriously. …the standing close to the tv, holding books up close, and blinking frequently, clumsiness….. I guess i always chalk everything weird that he does up to him being funny, because he’s reallllyyy silly and always trying to make me laugh. I really wish I’d been paying more attention. Hopefully nothing is permanently damaged! Oof the mom guilt, what an awful feeling.


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