Sign up

Sight Struggles?

You know your child best. You know their favorite toy, the name of their best friend, and the types of foods they just can’t stand to eat. But would you know if your child is struggling to see? Despite a parent’s best efforts, it’s not always easy to tell if a child has a vision impairment. In fact, children are sometimes misdiagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities, when the truth is, they just have a hard time seeing. Children assume that the way they see the world is normal, so they rarely complain about vision problems. 

As such, it’s important to pay attention to these top 10 signs that a child may have an undiagnosed vision problem. Both parents and teachers should keep an eye out for children who:

  • have a short attention span for their age.

  • perform below ability level and struggle with reading, writing, or learning.

  • lose place while reading and/or require the use of a finger or a marker to guide the eyes.

  • hold their head close to books or desk while reading or writing.

  • avoid or dislike tasks that require detailed work like playing with Lego or drawing.

  • experience frequent headaches, nausea, and/or dizziness.

  • complain of burning, itching, or blurry eyes.

  • excessively blink or rub the eyes.

  • turn or tilt the head to use only one eye, or cover or close one eye.

  • have eyes that move independently of each other, or eyes that cross or turn in and out.

While these behavioral and physical signs may indicate that your child is struggling to see, the best way to know for sure is to have a comprehensive eye exam performed by a doctor of optometry. Children should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and then yearly after starting school.

Infants should have their first eye exam between six and nine months of age. Alberta Health Care covers the cost of annual comprehensive eye exams for children until they turn 19.

During an eye exam, an optometrist will test not only how well your child can see, but also the overall health of their eyes. It’s pretty amazing what a comprehensive eye exam can reveal - everything from vision impairments like nearsightedness and astigmatism to potentially serious health conditions ranging from diabetes and high blood pressure to certain forms of cancer.

Eye exams are quick and easy, and will help set your child up for a lifetime of happy learning and growing.

For all family eye health matters, visit your optometrist or find a doctor of optometry near you by visiting


Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2021 Calgary’s Child