Recognize Early Signs of Vision Impairment in Young Children


The best way to identify early warning signs of problems with your child’s vision is with routine eye exams. When detected at the onset, ocular impairments are much more likely to respond well to treatment.

The early warning signs to look for differing according to age group:

Infants under a year old

By about four months old babies should be able to focus on moving objects within their field of vision. If your little one doesn’t appear to be able to make eye contact or has trouble seeing, these are major warning signs of possible vision impairment.

It isn’t uncommon for the eyes of children under four to appear misaligned from time to time. However, after the four-month mark, if you notice crossed eyes or outward drifting, your child’s vision may be declining.

It is so important to detect vision problems early. If your child is experiencing any of these conditions, contact your child’s eye doctor immediately to schedule an eye exam.

Pre-school children

Oftentimes vision impairments are displayed through children’s eye patterns. However, common vision problems like lazy eye don’t always present warning signs.

To safeguard your child’s eye health, schedule at least one routine eye exam to test your child’s vision between two and five years of age.

Children of all ages

If you observe any of the following warning signs, contact your children’s eye doctor. Your child may be experiencing farsightedness, nearsightedness or some other vision problem.

  • Eyes that appear to be misaligned (turned outward or inward)
  • Holds books too close to read or sits too close to the TV
  • Continuous eye rubbing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Pain, itching or other eye discomforts
  • Squinting or head tilting to see better
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Persistent eye redness

Your children’s eye doctor will perform an eye exam and vision screening to determine whether or not your child has a vision problem. If necessary, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist for further testing.

Be sure to information your eye doctor of any family history of visual impairment, such as lazy eye or crossed eyes.