Eyesight by age 2 min read

Children’s vision problems

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Children can’t always tell if they have a problem with their eyes. Here are some common issues and signs for parents to look out for.

Sign of an eye problem

Children might not know how to tell you they have an issue with their eyes – and may not even realise themselves. But you might be able to tell something isn’t right through their behaviour. They might hold objects close to their eyes, or sit too near the television. Maybe they constantly rub their eyes, complain about headaches or suffer from crusty eyes.


If your child is struggling to see the board at school or sits very close to the television, then it is likely that they are finding it difficult to focus on objects at a distance. This is known as myopia. Myopia occurs when the eyeball is longer than usual or the lens of the eye is misshapen which prevents light from reaching the retina of the eye which makes us see images. The light is reflected before the retina creating a blurred vision on objects in the distance but not close up. This blurred vision can make have adverse effects on a child’s learning abilities in school so it is advised to get their eyes checked if you notice the signs and to ensure your child wear’s their glasses if they’re prescribed.

In a classroom with blurred vision when looking at the whiteboard


Your child will struggle to focus on objects that are close up. Your child will probably complain of headaches and eye fatigue as they strain to see. The opposite of myopia, light is reflected past the retina due to a shorter eye or flatter lens of the eye. It’s easily corrected with prescription lenses.

Lazy eye (amblyopia)

If your child has a squint or a droopy eyelid then they could have a 'lazy eye.' Regular eye examinations will ensure early diagnosis and suitable course of treatment. If untreated your child’s vision can be permanently compromised so it’s important to keep an eye on your child and attend eye exams.

Cross-eyed (strabismus)

Informally known as 'cross-eyed', one eye looks straight ahead, and the other looks away. If spotted early, wearing a patch for a period of time will help to correct the problem.

Little girl wearing glasses with an eye patch to correct strabismus


If your child is confused when reading numbers or letters, they could have astigmatism. Conduct some simple reading aloud exercises at home to test their vision. Astigmatism can be present with long-sightedness or short-sightedness. If your child has astigmatism their prescription will show a cylindrical power or CYL meaning they will require glasses to correct the condition.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

If your child has redness around the eyes, streaming tears, swollen eyelids, or wakes up with a yellow crust on their eyelashes, it could be conjunctivitis.

Correcting children’s eye conditions with glasses

Your optician will be able to check your child’s eye health and vision to see if glasses are required. It’s important to pick a frame that not only fits your child so that the lenses are sitting in the correct place for their eyes but also a frame your child likes as this will help them to keep them on. For more information on children’s eyesight, glasses and more download our guide to children’s vision.

Essilor's ultimate guide to children's glasses

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