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Vision Problem Warning Signs in Children

The health of a child is a number one priority for parents, and the health of a child’s eyes is a critical part of this priority. Regular eye exams can help find potential eye problems and prevent future ones from arising. In between routine eye exams, keep an eye out for the following warning signs provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics. If your child has any of these signs, contact your healthcare professional to schedule an appointment.

3 months of age

SymptomPotential Cause
Baby cannot make steady eye contact or seems unable to seePartial or complete blindness
Table of symptoms for children 3 months of age

Children of all ages

SymptomPotential Cause
Crossed eyes, turned out eyes or eyes that do not focus togetherMisaligned eyes (strabismus) or Lazy Eye (amblyopia)
White or grayish-white color in the pupilPartial or complete blindness
Eyes that flutter quickly side to side or up and downNystagmus
Tired, itching, burning eyesEye strain
Bulging EyesGraves disease (hyperthyroidism)
Complaint of eye pain, itchiness, or discomfortForeign material in eye
Redness in either eye that has not gone away in a few days or pus or crust in either eyePink Eye (conjunctivtis)
Eyes that are always watery, tearingEye allergies
Drooping eyelidsWeak muscle in the eyelid, if severe and left untreated can lead to lazy eye (amblyopia)
Rubs or squints eyes oftenNearsightedness (myopia) or Farsightedness (hyperopia)
Eyes frequently sensitive to lightPhotophobia (abnormal sensitivity to artificial or natural light)
Table of symptoms for children of all ages

It is recommended that your child(ren) get a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist before the age of 5, even if none of these conditions exist. The above table is not a comprehensive list. This post is for informational purposes only, so please talk to your healthcare professional about questions you may have about your child(ren)’s eyes.

Your Child Eyes, American Academy of Pediatrics (Last accessed 7.1.14)